Friday, 15 February 2008

Clean Sweep 31

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

Dorset-based waste treatment group New Earth Solutions has landed £4m pre-IPO funding from clean utilities specialist Impax.
New Earth uses a range of composting methods to treat biodegradeable municipal waste, with one 50,000t/a facility in Dorset and another under construction in Kent. The funding supports the development of a further six plants, before the company's planned IPO in 2009. Last year, New Earth secured a £50m finance package from Norddeutsche Landesbank.

Whitfield Solar has secured a £1m interim round from existing investor Carbon Trust and new investor Kilsby. Whitfield is a spin-out from the University of Reading, developing low-cost solar concentrators. The new money goes towards completing product development and launching a demonstration site in Spain.

UK biomass power group Prenergy (aka Global Wood Holding) has sold a one-third stake to Italian private equity group Clessidra Capital Partners for an unspecified sum. Prenergy is building what promises to be the world's largest woodchip-fuelled power plant on the site of a former steel factory in Port Talbot, Wales.

Specialist investor Low Carbon Accelerator has announced a $4m investment in energy-efficient lighting developer LUMEnergi. The staged investment includes $1.6m now, with the remainder on certain performance milestones. US investor Noventi is contributing a further $3.5m.
US-based LUMEnergi produces dimming electronic ballast systems which reduce the energy consumption of fluorescent lights during the brightest times of day.

Two big rounds for German thin-film solar developers. Odersun raised a $40m second round and $21m of grant funding to build its second factory. Virgin Green Fund led the international VC syndicate. The firm makes CIS cells and modules for utility and building-integrated applications.
Ersol meanwhile raised Euro48m from US investor Ventizz. Ersol specialises in solar cells and PV modules using recycled silicon. The new funding goes to developing its thin-film arm.

More solar action in the States. High-efficiency silicon developer Suniva closed a $50m second round led by returning investor New Enterprise Associates.
Solar-concentrating group Infinia also raised a $50m second round for the commercial launch of its heat-to-electricity tech based on Stirling engines. GLG Partners led the round. Infinia raised an initial $9.5m in June last year.
And CoolEarth Solar closed a $21m first round. The California firm is developing inflatable mirrors for solar concentrators - let's hope the company's value isn't similarly inflated.

In Israel, stealthy start-up EnStorage raised $2m from Greylock
Partners, Canaan Partners and Siemens Venture Capital for its fuel cell energy-storage tech, aimed at smooting supply from solar and wind generation. And Advanced Desalination Technologies (the clue's in the name) raised $4m from local cleantech specialist AquAgro Fund. Tip of the hat to the Cleantech Israel blog.

Further reading
Continuing worries, via Reuters, that the rush to invest in cleantech may be building towards boom and bust. Nick Smith of Allianz Global Investors points at over-valued Chinese solar stocks.
Richard W on the Library House blog also wonders if cleantech can sustain its growth.

Britain third worst in EU for use of renewable energy, according to the Guardian's report on a leaked DBERR document. Only Malta and Luxembourg are worse in terms of percentage of energy sourced from renewables.

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