Achates Power Raises $12.1M in Venture Capital to Develop Cleaner, More Efficient Engine

10/5/09Follow @bvbigelow

It’s getting harder for San Diego’s stealthy cleantech startup Achates Power to continue flying beneath the radar. In a regulatory filing today, Achates discloses it has raised $12.125 million out of a $20 million venture round.

The company, which says in its filing that it was founded in 2007, has been developing a radical new design for a high-efficiency two-stroke automotive engine. Achates’ website says its technology was inspired by turn-of-the-century German aviation engineer Hugo Junkers’s Jumo, “the most famous engine in diesel aviation history.” Achates also notes it has been granted six U.S. patents with over 200 claims that define the patents.

Achates and its founder James Lemke have rebuffed several previous queries I’ve made about the company and its technology. While conventional engines have a single piston in each cylinder, Achates’ engine calls for two opposing pistons. The company says its approach delivers more power in less space, and boosts fuel mileage up to 100 miles per gallon. Achates apparently has begun testing a 4.2-liter engine, and has plans to license its technology to automakers.

The cleantech startup has previously acknowledged receiving an undisclosed amount of venture funding from Sequoia Capital, RockPort Capital Partners, Interwest Partners, and Madrone Capital Partners.

Madrone’s Jamie McJunkin, Sequoia’s Greg McAdoo, and RockPort’s David Prend are all listed as directors, according to the company’s regulatory filing. It also looks now like Achates is filling out its corporate structure. David Johnson is now listed as president and CEO, a position previously held by founder Lemke, an adjunct professor of electrical and computer engineering at UC San Diego. Achates regulatory filing also shows that Cary Convis, vice chairman of Dana Corp., and the former chairman of Toyota, North America, is on the board—apparently as an independent director.

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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