A weekly column profiling companies and personalities.
What: MicroPlanet, Seattle
Who: Bruce Lisanti, 48, president and CEO
Mission: Add an element of conservation, speed and efficiency to the electrical grid. “We make it operate more efficiently at the point of consumption,” Lisanti said.
Necessary widget: According to Lisanti, 67 percent of electricity is wasted in transit because extra energy is needed to drive the power to the destination point. “For every kilowatt used, we need to produce three,” he said. This fluctuates depending on the distance between the power station and the target. People close by might get more power than they need. The MicroPlanet device, which costs about $100, attaches to a meter and monitors and controls voltage flow so a home or office gets the proper amount.
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Financials: The public company, not yet profitable, is just beginning to ship its product. Lisanti predicts the company will turn a profit at the end of 2009.
Money is power: Like everyone, MicroPlanet has experienced an economic slowdown, but says it has a $6.4 million order backlog. “We feel that the prospect of saving money, while reducing a business’s carbon footprint, is something that should be very attractive to our customers in these current market conditions,” said CFO Andy Larson.
World domination: In MicroPlanet’s view, electric consumption and, by extension, electric bills will decrease with use of its product. The aggregate savings should lower greenhouse-gas emissions, as spare power won’t be converted into excess heat.
Location, location: For now, the company is selling most of its product to developing areas of Australia and Hawaii to build efficiency from the ground up. As for the rest of the U.S., Lisanti said “most of our domestic sales are focused on New England and California. We target the regions with the highest energy cost, which gives us the biggest payback.”
— Charles Bermant