Clarian Technologies Aims to Take Financial Sting Out of Wind Power with Jellyfish Turbine

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“like a satellite dish,” Maglaque said. It’s a 400 watt device, and produces about 40 kilowatt hours per month, which would be enough to power the lighting of an average house using high-efficiency light bulbs (such as compact fluorescent lights). “The beauty is that it could expand up to 1,500 watts,” Maglaque said, because the appliances can be “daisy-chained” together—so you could have a string of Jellyfishes or Sunfishes (or a mix) that would bring the monthly energy generation up to 180 kilowatt hours.

Utility companies are also interested in Clarian’s products, Maglaque said, because the technology can feed power back into the energy grid when it’s not needed at home. Since energy is constantly flowing back and forth between the grid and the buildings it powers, if you left the Jelllyfish or Sunfish on all the time and you weren’t home or were using very little power, the device could actually return power to the utility company. The utilities could then return an annual dividend to homeowners, depending on how much energy each home generated for the company.

This capability depends on another characteristic of the devices, which is that they are equipped with Wi-Fi and can be connected to the Internet, where the owners, Clarian, and utility companies could all monitor their productivity. So when someone buys a Jellyfish or Sunfish, after plugging it in, they can get online and register it with Clarian, Maglaque said, “kind of like a TiVo for renewable energy.”

With the combination of buying a Jellyfish, outfitting your home with compact fluorescent lights, and getting some returns from the utility company, the payback time for these initial investments could be as low as two to five years, he said.

Maglaque comes from a software and technology background, having moved to Seattle 15 years ago for a job at RealNetworks. Before starting Clarian with co-founder Dell Keehn, Maglaque worked as a freelance product management consultant. He had a position for a while involved with one of the bid teams for the Seattle monorail, a project he felt very passionate about. “There’s a definite theme here,” he said, “whether it’s electrical consumption or getting people out of their cars to use public transportation.”

“Many people who purchase hybrid or smart cars, or outfit their homes or buildings with solar panels today do not expect to get a ‘return on investment’ in the traditional sense, but expect to get it in other ways—if enough of us do it, we send a signal to lawmakers, corporations, our neighbors about our priorities,” said Kelly Jo MacArthur, a consultant for Clarian (and former RealNetworks veteran). “The Jellyfish and other Clarian products allow people to participate much more immediately, simply, affordably.”

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Rachel Tompa is a freelance journalist based in Seattle. She can be reached at Follow @

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