Linear generators to support a net-zero carbon electric grid


Stanford engineers Shannon Miller, Matt Svrcek and Adam Simpson founded Mainspring Energy in 2010 out of the US. Their research into high-efficiency methods of converting fuel to electricity led to the development of a clean on-site power generation technology that enables affordable and reliable electricity while providing flexibility to the grid.


Series E

Focus sectors







Investment rationale
Despite the soaring adoption of renewable power, electricity production still accounts for 23% of global GHG emissions. And while solar and wind power are now often cheaper than fossil fuel alternatives, switching to 100% renewable power comes with two big challenges. First, the wind doesn’t always blow and the sun doesn’t always shine, but we do want reliable electricity 24/7. Secondly, renewable power is produced in different locations (think rooftop solar or offshore wind) than fossil fuel power, meaning our current grid is not optimized for these new flows. As such, we need technologies to balance the grid and provide alternatives when needed, including those that can provide stable power when the grid is able to provide so.
Mainspring Energy has developed a modular power generator that produces clean power on-site. The generator mixes air and fuel which are compressed until a low-temperature reaction occurs, creating stable linear back-and-forth motion of the key components of the generator that move through copper coils which creates electricity. What makes the generator unique is that it can switch between clean fuels like hydrogen, ammonia and biogas, and use software to match power output with demand. It can integrate with onsite solar and energy storage, and being fully dispatchable it can provide power also when the grid is down.
Competitive advantage
Mainspring Energy’s technology delivers not only a unique contribution to help decentralize the energy system, but also flexibility to the grid with a solution that can act alone or complement other decentralized solutions such as solar. Flexibility is key to the renewable electricity transition, and their technology can act as the backbone of any renewable microgrid. As such, the company will help enable the continued rapid adoption of renewables.
Shannon Miller
Matt Svrcek
Jacek Prus
Investment fund


Lightrock is a global impact private equity platform spun-out of the Liechtenstein Global Trust investing across people, planet and productivity.

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