• PE Week Wire reported today that thin-film battery developer Infinite Power Solutions, which has applications in smart cards, RFID, and other uses, raised $35mm in a Series A-1. PEWW notes that shareholders (both new and any pre-existing) include Core Capital Partners, Polaris Venture Partners, SpringWorks LLC, D.E. Shaw, Advanced Energy Technology, Dow Corning and Symmorphix Inc. Dow and UniSource Energy put in $5mm back in 2003, and also provided some coatings technology at that time.

Other fun news: An Irish microgenerator company, Steorn, put a big ad in The Economist this past week challenging "the world's scientists" to test their claims that they've developed a generator which achieves better than 100% efficiency. That's right, infinitely free power. [8/21 update: More on Steorn here]

This is not the first company to claim they have figured out a way around the laws of physics. Black Light Power announced they've taken in $50mm in investments earlier this year -- the company seems to be using a catalyst to entice the electrons in hydrogen atoms to drop to a lower energy state (even lower than the ground state...), in the process releasing photons, and they claim that the solution provides enough power to drive the electrolysis necessary to get the hydrogen in the first place with extra to spare (but... where does the catalyst come from?). The WSJ found (note: pdf) some knowledgeable people who took a look and came away impressed, sometimes writing checks.

And let's not forget Magnetic Power (and others) and their zero point energy efforts, as well as FuPower's magnet-based technology for which they claim "government laboratory testers comment on their report that no existing physics theory can explain this extraordinary energy-producing phenomenon." (But their website appears to be down, so this link is to a Google cached page) (Some other description is available here, just scroll down.)

Readers are invited to submit other companies that they feel would help fill out the competitor set...