Canada’s Ausra connection

My Clean Break column this week is a deeper profile of Dr. David Mills, founder and chairman of Palo Alto, Calif.-based solar thermal company Ausra Inc.

There’s been much written lately about Ausra and its Kleiner/Khosla connection, but this piece looks at the man behind the company and provides a little background on Ausra’s move from Australia to Silicon Valley. It’s ironic that a Canadian (an Etobicoke boy, to be precise), coming from a geography where the economics of solar thermal power don’t work well, ends up developing a technology and founding a company that has attracted so much attention and financing in the United States. Mind you, Mills spent 30 years of his life in Australia before heading to Silicon Valley, so while his family and roots are in Canada, his experience and influences come from Down Under.

Anyway, if you want to learn more about Ausra and what it’s up to, have read.

2 thoughts on “Canada’s Ausra connection”

  1. I enjoyed the piece, Tyler, and find the technology very interesting. Those cost figures and the promise of baseline solar power will be challenging to achieve, but I think that we live a well capitalized world in which science is advancing rapidly. Conventional wisdom (like Australia’s Prime Minister John Howard calling solar “a nice, easy soft answer”) I think will be proven wrong. The exciting part is how quickly it will be proven wrong.
    Stephen

  2. David French writes:

    I don’t know why solar isn’t relevant in Canada, even thermal solar. The air is clear and noncorrosive, particularly in the winter. And as long as the incoming light energy remains in light form, it is immune to the outside temperature. All you have to do is insulate the absorber. If it works in Australia, it should work in Canada.

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