Thursday, 25 October 2007

Clean Sweep 20

A round-up of recent news in clean technology and cleantech investment.

Energy-efficient electronics group CamSemi has raised a £13m third round. The government-backed Carbon Trust comes in as a new investor with a £2m stake, alongside existing investors 3i, Scottish Equity Partners and TTP Ventures.
The Cambridge-based firm is developing pwer-management circuits for mains converters and battery chargers than can potentially improve standby energy efficiency ten-fold.

Waste management business Credential Environmental has reportedly received a £6m package from socially-focused VC Bridges Ventures. Based in Newton Aycliffe, Credential specialises in recycling and safe disposal of tyres and other automotive waste.

Kent-based renewables contractor Cel-F Solar has secured £1m investment from Bank of Scotland Growth Equity. The firm designs, installs and maintains solar, wind and heat pump systems for councils, housing associations and property developers. BoS says the company has grown at over 30%pa over the past three years and is on track to double turnover in the current year, thanks in part to wider adoption of the 'Merton Rule' which mandates participating councils to include some renewables element in new developments (though as noted below, the programme may be being scrubbed).
It's more of a public-sector facilities-management deal than a tech-led one, but still worth noting.

Over in Ireland, tidal energy group Openhydro has completed a Euro40m fundraising. According to the Independent newspaper, the round was led by One51, an investment firm headed by entrepeneur Philip Lynch, and an IPO is on the cards for next year.
Openhydro is developing marine turbines for power generation, with tests underway at the European Marine Energy Centre off the Orkneys.

More deals, as ever, across the pond. In what some are calling the biggest solar venture deal yet, thin-film manufacturer Heliovolt announced its second round fundraising has reached a whopping $101m. The Texan company previously announced a close at $77m in August (see Clean Sweep 11). New investors include Sequel Venture Partners, Noventi Ventures and hedge fund Passport Capital. The money goes towards opening Heliovolt's first plant, with the initial capacity to produce 20MW worth of thin-film CIGS cells a year. The firm is planning a global string of 40MW-capacity factories, including some potentially in Europe.

And in a big battery deal, Massachusetts-based A123 Systems raised an extra $30m from General Electric and other existing investors. The round, the firm's fifth, follows a $40m fundraising in January.
A123 will use the funding to increase production capacity for its doped nanophosphate lithium-ion batteries, following contract wins for plug-in hybrid and other electric vehicle designs from industry primes including GM and BAE Systems.

Still in the US, East Coast VC Battelle Ventures and its Innovation Valley Partners affiliate have put a total $8m into three energy start-ups.
Energy-efficient traffic light firm Aldis gets $3.7m in two tranches; thin-film battery business Planar Energy Devices gets $4m in two tranches; and thin-film PV developer Ampulse gets $1m 'pre-seed'. Aldis and Ampulse are spin-outs from the Department of Energy's labs in Tennessee, while Florida-based Planar is out of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Biofuel tech a-go-go! GM feedstock developer Mendel Biotechnology raises an undisclosed round from ZBI Ventures, Capricorn Investment Group, CFM, and Monsanto. Modular biorefinery business BioFuelBox takes a reported $9.5m from DFJ Element. And algal biodiesel start-up Solix Biofuels has raised at least $1.5m of a target $3.5m first round from Bohemian Investments and others.

In water purification, New Mexico's Altela secured a $7.1m first round led by Canada's CCS Income Trust. The firm develops desalination and decontamination systems based on thermal distillation, a tech it says is up to eight times more energy efficient than reverse osmosis.

Further reading
The cleantech boom continues in the US, according to the latest quarterly VC figures from VentureOne. Energy-related investment was up 28% from Q3 2006, to $590m. Total investments reached over $8m, the biggest quarterly total since 2001.
Two of the quarter's ten biggest deals were in cleantech - Heliovolt's $77m close (before this week's top-up, as noted above); and synthetic biofuel group Amyris Biotechnologies's $70m second round in September.

Australian VC Cleantech Ventures (catchy name!) and industry network Cleantech Group have released the first report on the sector in the lucky country. Headlines: A$539m VC into 75 companies over 1999-2007Q1, accounting for 4% of Aussie deals by number; agriculture, energy storage, transportation and water are the strongest sectors. Complete report, as 3Mb PDF, here. Cleantech Ventures announced a A$50m first close of its own Cleantech Australia Fund earlier this month.

Engineering giant GE offered an update on its Ecomagination cleantech investment arm. It says it's putting over $1bn in 'cleaner' R&D in the current year, rising to $1.5bn a year by 2010. Current projects include mammoth wind turbines 'with blades longer than the tip-to-tip wingspan of a jumbo jet': nimby groups are in a pre-emptive uproar.

Solarcentury ceo Jeremy Leggett launches a patriotic call-to-arms for more UK government support for the renewables industry.
His company has meanwhile helped kit out the UK's first solar powered pub for JD Wetherspoon. Solarcentury raised £13.5m from Zouk Ventures and Good Energies at the end of the summer, as noted previously. Cheers!

Something new for the tech-craze fans: after biotech, nanotech and cleantech comes... spookytech!

1 comment:

Spirofrog said...

Excellent information Tim.

Just for all your information. Cleantech Jobs from Fuel Cell Players, Private Equity Firms in the Cleantech industry you will find on
Famous partners are TVW Capital, SFC, Smart Fuel Cell and some others like

Best Thomas