#6: Danielle Fong - An Engine Powered By Light

#6: Danielle Fong - An Engine Powered By Light

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Episode 6: When heated, sodium emits energy via visible light at 2.1eV (or 589 nm wavelength). So, if you make an engine that heats up sodium, you can tune a solar cell to exactly that frequency and capture light efficiently — giving you the portability of a battery with the energy density of hydrocarbons.


(00:00) - Intro
(00:32) - Danielle’s Background
(04:40) - Early Interest in Energy and Fusion Research
(08:14) - Leaving Academia to Become an Entrepreneur
(11:40) - Starting LightSail and Innovating in Compressed Air Energy Storage
(15:35) - Reflecting on LightSail and Compressed Air Energy Storage
(19:48) - Limitations of Batteries, Engines, and Fuel Cells
(22:30) - The Vision for Portable, Energy-Dense Power Generation
(27:16) - Rethinking Combustion and Light Generation for Compact Power
(31:56) - How the New Power Generation Process Works
(37:58) - Managing High Temperatures and System Components
(42:26) - Recirculating Heat for Higher Efficiency
(48:38) - Theoretical Limits and Practical Challenges
(52:50) - Engineering Solutions to Minimize Losses
(58:32) - The Experimental Approach to Rapid Learning
(01:02:54) - Balancing Exploratory Work with Systematic Testing
(01:07:40) - Developing the Craftsmanship of Research
(01:11:15) - Managing Company Priorities while Preserving Creativity
(01:15:18) - Advice for Learning and Advancing Technology
(01:18:36) - Building Real Projects and Sharing Knowledge
(01:22:10) - Conclusion


Christian Keil – https://twitter.com/pronounced_kyle
Danielle Fong – https://twitter.com/DanielleFong
Lightcell Energy – https://www.lightcellenergy.com/


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Episode Video

Creators and Guests

Christian Keil
Christian Keil
Host of First Principles | Chief of Staff @ Astranis
Danielle Fong
Danielle Fong
physics / AI / energy / art / realposting. 🏳️‍🌈/ally. cofounder, inventor, CEO, https://lightcellenergy.com/