Lineage Logistics sees low-carbon future with linear generators

Cold storage giant Lineage Logistics is putting the squeeze on its greenhouse gas emissions, announcing a plan to deploy up to 150 green fuel-burning linear generators across its U.S. network of DCs over the next 10 quarters, the company said today.

The 20-foot long generators, built by Menlo Park, California-based Mainspring Energy Inc., produce zero-carbon electricity at each DC site by shuttling a magnet between metal coils, driven by a low-temperature combustion of pressurized green fuels such as natural gas or hydrogen. That approach allows the linear generators to quickly ramp up and down in response to the inherent variability of solar and wind power, the firm says.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but over the longer term, the two companies also will explore the deployment of Mainspring units outside the U.S. and the use of 100% green fuels to power the fuel-flexible Mainspring products.

The big order helped push Mainspring toward a fresh round of venture capital funding, as the firm simultaneously said it had raised more than $150 million in “series E” money, led by global growth equity investor Lightrock and joined by others including Khosla Ventures, Bill Gates, Fine Structure Ventures, the private equity firm affiliated with the parent company of Fidelity Investments, Princeville Capital, and Lineage’s own investment arm, Lineage Ventures.

Novi, Michigan-based Lineage had previously deployed two Mainspring generators last year in tandem with 3.3 MW of solar arrays to achieve its first cold-storage facility to produce 100% of its energy onsite. The new units could go to some 50 additional sites as Lineage eyes the carbon footprint of its sprawling global network of more than 400 facilities totaling over 2.5 billion cubic feet of capacity in 20 countries across North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific.

“Mainspring’s technology will help support our move to net zero carbon energy,” Chris Thurston, head of renewable energy projects for Lineage, said in a release. “Mainspring generators improve energy independence and buffer our growing use of solar power, while offering the potential future use of zero carbon fuels like green hydrogen and others. This plays an important role in meeting our Lineage Climate Pledge commitment to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2040.”


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