Thursday, 29 May 2008

Clean Sweep 38

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


Clean plastics company Novel Polymer Solutions has raised a £5m second round. The Malvern-based company is commercialising a new patent-protected process for manufacturing polymers with near-zero emissions of volatile organic compounds. Early target markets include replacing PVC in building, protective clothing and transport applications.
The deal was led by cleantech investor Environmental Technologies Fund, in its third investment. Advantage Growth Fund, a regional venture capital fund which first backed the company in 2003, also joined the round alongside private investors.

Dutch renewable energy group Econcern has raised Euro300m from a consortium of institutional investors. Rabobank and Delta Lloyd joined existing investor SHV to boost the firm's growth.
Econcern is developing a broad portfolio of renewable generation, from offshore wind to algal biofuels. The group says it is planning an IPO in two to four years time.

Busy times in the Netherlands, as plastics recycling group Morssinkhof Rymoplast raised an undisclosed investment from mid-market investor Egeria.
And at the venture end of things, LED tech developer CrystalQ raised an undisclosed round from Sustainability Energy Technology Fund, E2 Cleantech and private investor Benno Wiersma. The firm produces crystal wafers for low-energy LED lighting.

In the US, the big money's still following the sun. All-solar electricity supplier SunEdison raising a parcel of $131m equity and $30m debt to support its operations. Investors include Greylock Partners, HSH Nordbank, Applied Ventures, Black River Commodity Clean Energy Investment Fund, MissionPoint Capital Partners and Allco Renewable Energy Limited.
And utility-scale solar thermal developer BrightSource Energy raised $115m in its third round., BP Alternative Energy, Statoil Hydro Venture, and Black River joined existing investors VantagePoint, DBL Investors, DFJ, and Chevron Technology Ventures. The Californian firm is preparing to build its first 'power tower' plants in the Mojave desert next year.

Novel biofuel developer Gevo meanwhile raised a $17m third round from new investors Burrill and Malaysia Life Sciences Capital Fund, and existing investors Khosla Ventures and Virgin Green Fund. The Colorado-based firm is developing a range of technologies including protein-engineering agricultural waste, and tweaking the metabolism of unspecified 'host organisms'.

And Principle Power, a San Francisco renewables developer, raised $2.3m seed funding via a convertible note offering. The firm aims to develop a portfolio of renewable energy projects, with a focus on offshore wind, solar and hydro.

Fund news

Belgian VC Capricorn Venture Partners has closed its first dedicated cleantech fund with Euro100m of commitments. The firm says this was well ahead of targets. Investors include chemicals group Solvay and the European Investment Fund.

Cleantech stalwart Good Energies has a new managing director and head of venture capital in the form of George Coelho, founding director of Balderton (née Benchmark) Capital.

Further reading

KPMG scrutinises the M&A boom in the renewables sector in a new report, Turning up the heat. With valuations at record highs, half of the industry respondents say there is real risk of a bubble in the sector.

New US cleantech VC figures from Ernst & Young, showing investment up 18% to $572m in the first quarter, despite total VC falling 7%. Fastest growing sub-sectors include power and efficiency management (up a whopping 454%, from a low base), efficiency products, and solar (still). The report also notes the shift from early to later-stage deals.

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