Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Clean Sweep 44

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

UK wind turbine developer Quiet Revolution has raised £7m growth funding. German energy group RWE Innogy provided £6m, with the rest from undisclosed private investors.
The London-based firm produces small vertical-axis turbines for distributed generation. The firm says they're particularly suited for use in built-up areas where conventional fan-style turbines just aren't efficient. Around 30 are already in place around the UK, mostly 6KW turbines on sites including supermarkets and new residential developments.
Quiet Revolution is also developing a larger 50KW turbine and a 2.5KW model for domestic buyers. Earlier this year, the firm announced a new manufacturing plant in Pembroke Dock, with support from Welsh Assembly Government.

In another growth investment led by an energy group, France's EDF-Energies Nouvelles and Truffle Capital have invested Euro1m in solar installer Photon Technologies. Photon provides turnkey solar installations for domestic and commercial customers, as well as dedicated solar plants. The firm also has a 25% stake in a PV-grade silicon production plant in Provence.

EDF also joined in a $300m 'strategic equity financing' in California's Nanosolar, as did fellow utility AES. EDF previously announced a $50m investment in the thin-film CIGS developer back in April. More details from Nanosolar themselves.
Still in thin-film solar, AVA Solar raised a $104m second round from new and existing investors led by DCM. The money goes towards completing the CdTe developer's 200MW/a factory in its Colorado home.

DCM also led a $19m third round in water treatment firm Miox. The New Mexico company provides advanced water treatment systems for municipal drinking water.

Norwegian wind tech developer Chapdrive meanwhile secured NKr30m (Euro3.75m) follow-on funding from existing investors Northzone Ventures, Hafslund Venture and StatoilHydro Venture. The firm, which is developing a patented hydraulic transmission mechanism to make off-shore wind turbines more efficient, raised NKr14.3m in July 2007. Jens Anders Jensen, formerly on the board of Danish wind giant Vestas, joins as CEO.

Also in wind, California-based Makani Power took a further $5m from Google.org. The prolific philanthropy'n'VC arm of the IT giant previously invested $10m in 2006. Makani is developing high-altitude wind energy systems, which closely resemble great big kites.

A couple of big-name investors enjoyed profitable exits from wind investments. Good Energies sold its stake in two Romanian wind farm projects to utility group CEZ in a deal worth Euro1.1bn. With a total capacity of 600MW, the adjacent projects together form Europe's largest onshore wind farm. Full details (pdf).
And 3i sold its minority stake in Belgian renewables developer Electrawinds to majority stakeholders for an undisclosed sum. 3i invested Euro30m in 2006, and says it achieved its five-year growth targets in just two years.

Elsewhere, microbial biofuel firm Solazyme closed a $45m third round, with new investors Braemar and Lightspeed joining the Roda Group and Harris & Harris. As well as biofuels, the San Francisco firm is engineering microbes to produce commodity chemicals and pharmaceuticals.

Waste-to-energy developer MaxWest Environmental Systems raised $10m from AIM-listed investor Leaf Clean Energy. MaxWest is commercialising a commercial-grade system for producing energy from what it tactfully calls biosolids in municipal and agricultural wastewater.

And Indian electronics recycler Attero Recycling raised $6.3m from NEA-IndoUS Ventures and Draper Fisher Jurvetson towards its 100,000 sq ft facility in Roorkee. The firm is also developing new mechanical separation techniques with an unidentified US partner, as well as in-house metallurgical processes.

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