John O'Donnell

CEO at Rondo Energy
On the record

John has over 30 years of experience taking novel solutions from conception to reality across the energy, semiconductor and supercomputer industries. Prior to founding Rondo, John served as Co-founder and Vice President of Development for GlassPoint Solar, which delivered solar industrial heat worldwide. He previously cofounded and led Ausra, a pioneer in solar thermal electric systems. John served as a lead engineer for Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, where he designed award-winning technology to support fusion experiments. He is a published author of numerous technical papers and holds more than 20 patents in the U.S. and internationally. John earned a B.Sc. with Special Distinction in Computer Science from Yale University.

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  • We’re storing heat as very high-temperature energy in solid materials. The truth is, my coffee thermos holds more energy than a laptop battery, a lot more cheaply. For the heating — there’s no magic there: your toaster and hairdryer uses the same technology for generating heat as we do. We developed a new combination of materials for the storage. You can then deliver heat continually by circulating air into the stack of that material and getting superheated air out. Then we either turn that heat into steam in a conventional boiler or we deliver directly to users with high-temperature needs, such as making glass or cement. This is a technology that operates at a small fraction of the cost of an electrochemical battery and maybe more significantly, roughly twice the efficiency and half the cost of any hydrogen system.

    8 February 2022