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Sam Altman and Others Invest $20M in AI Energy Startup

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A startup aiming to reduce the huge amount of electricity used by artificial intelligence (AI) is getting a big financial boost. Top leaders in the AI industry, including Sam Altman, are investing $20 million in Exowatt.

Exowatt is creating modules that store energy as heat and then turn it into electricity for AI data centers. This startup’s investors include Sam Altman and the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.

The company’s solution involves large modules equipped with solar lenses. These lenses capture sunlight and convert it into heat, which is then stored for up to 24 hours. The stored heat is used to generate electricity through an engine. Exowatt aims to lower costs by storing energy as heat.

Sam Altman and Others Invest $20M in AI Energy Startup

Hannan Parvizian, Exowatt’s CEO, emphasizes that using fossil fuels to power data centers is not the solution. Instead, their approach focuses on sustainable energy sources like solar power.

Exowatt is committed to using components made in the USA to avoid reliance on Chinese parts and qualify for subsidies. The company aims to offer electricity at a low cost, potentially as low as one cent per kilowatt-hour, with the help of subsidies. They plan to launch their modules later this year.

Leaders in both the tech and climate fields recognize the massive energy consumption of AI. Ami Badani, CMO of semiconductor firm Arm, highlights the energy-intensive nature of AI, citing examples like ChatGPT requiring 15 times more energy than a traditional web search.

According to Badani, data centers where AI models are trained already account for 2% of global electricity consumption. She warns that by 2030, AI technology could consume a quarter of the power in the U.S.

Utility companies in the U.S. are already seeing data centers as their top area for customer growth, indicating the increasing demand for energy in this sector.

Source: QZ