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Some green magnetism: Start-up harnesses kinetic movement to generate electricity

M2E Power (M2E meaning Motion to Energy) has snagged $8 million in Series A venture capital funding to turn its patent-pending ideas—which convert simple motion into electricity—into products such as batteries and generators.The investor lead on the round is OVP Venture Partners, with additional funds coming from @Ventures and Highway 12 Ventures.

M2E Power (M2E meaning Motion to Energy) has snagged $8 million in Series A venture capital funding to turn its patent-pending ideas—which convert simple motion into electricity—into products such as batteries and generators.

The investor lead on the round is OVP Venture Partners, with additional funds coming from @Ventures and Highway 12 Ventures.

M2E’s technology, born in the U.S. Department of Energy's Idaho National Lab, works according to the principle of electromagnetic induction (aka The Faraday Principle). The design consists of a magnetic architecture and coils that create a generator that harvests motion and converts it into an electrical charge. So, even when a device using the generator is in use, it is continuously self-charging. Or so the theory goes. I'm not a physicist.

Regan Warner-Rowe, director of business development for the company, said the first prototypes of the technology have come in the form of “D” cell-size batteries. Batteries using the M2E technology will last about twice as long as traditional batteries plus they cut out between 30 percent and 40 percent of the toxic materials, according to Warnet-Rowe. The technology also can be scaled up for larger generators or incorporated directly into the design of electronics devices, such as cellular phones. So, you could literally recharge your cell phone AND get some exercise by taking a strolll around the block. Apparently, this sort of technology has been kicked around for some time, but other approaches harvest significantly less energy, according to M2E.

“Because it is a physics-level innovation, it can go down to the nanoscale level and up into big generators, such as those used for wind and ocean wave generators,” says Warner-Rowe.

M2E’s first focus for the technology, though, is on the military. (Both the CEO, David Rowe, and the Chief Scientist Eric Yarger are military veterans.) Simply put, the company hopes to lighten the load for personnel in the field, who have to schlep literally dozens of things that need some kind of portable power, such as radios, night vision equipment, global positioning systems, mine detectors. The list goes on. There, it will also be ruggedized.

On the commercial front, Warner-Rowe says the company is talking to handset manufacturers about incorporating the design into cell phones. She's mum about who, though, and it likely will take 24 to 26 months for the technology to be expressed commercially.