Monday, 23 February 2009

Clean Sweep 56

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

Oxfordshire-based Nexeon has raised £10m to help develop its advanced Li-ion rechargeable battery tech. The company was founded by Mino Green from Imperial College London, and started life in Imperial Innovations' incubator programme.
Imperial Innovations put in £4m in this latest round, with another £5m coming from investment manager Invesco Perpetual. Government-backed co-investor PUK Ventures added £1m.
Nexeon's patent-protected tech is based on using silicon anodes for Li-ion batteries to improve storage efficiency. The new money goes towards continuing product development and a pilot-scale manufacturing facility.

Waste treatment group New Earth Solutions has raised a further £4m from Impax Asset Management. The Dorset business specialises in biological treatment of municipal solid waste.
Impax first invested £4m a year ago. The company was then planning an IPO in 2009, but that's likely to be on hold.

Irish waste industry supplier AMCS (Advanced Manufacturing Control Systems) has raised a Euro5.25m round from London-based cleantech specialist WHEB Ventures and the Ulster Bank Diageo Venture Fund.
Limerick-based AMCS provides a range of IT and RFID-based systems aimed at boosting the efficiency and profitability of the waste and recycling industries. The firm now has fully-owned subsidiaries in the UK, Scandinavia and the US.

London's Zouk Ventures has led a Euro10.4m round for German water treatment group Triton-Format. US-based Meidlinger Partners also joined the round.
Triton-Format provides water treatment modules for the maritime, industrial and small municipal sectors. The new funding will help organic growth and acquisitions.

Norwegian wind tech developer ChapDrive has announced extra funding of NKr52m (£5.3m), following a NKr 30m round last August. The new investment again involved equity backers NorthZone Ventures, Hafslund Venture and Energy Capital Management, plus NKr15.6m from energy group StatoilHydro.
ChapDrive is developing a patented hydraulic transmission mechanism to improve the efficiency of off-shore wind turbines. The new funding is targeted at a commercial 5MW model.

Swedish renewable fuels firm Cortus has raised SKr2m (£158,000) from Stockholm's STING Capital.
Cortus has developed a patented gasification process called WoodRoll for producing high-quality synthetic gas from waste biomass, and is marketing this at energy-intensive industries including steel, glass and paper.

Italian fuel cell developer Electro Power Systems hsa raised Euro5.4m growth funding from existing backer 360° Capital Partners and an undisclosed private investor. 360° led a Euro5m round in July 2007.
The firm is aiming its Electro7 multi-output fuel cell at the business continuity market.

Over in the US (where, for once, things have have been quieter than in Europe), desalination start-up Oasys Water raised a $10m first round from VC heavyweights Flagship Ventures, Advanced Technology Ventures and Draper Fisher Jurvetson.
The Massachusetts firm is developing a low-energy osmotic process for producing drinking water from sea- and waste-water. The company's tech was developed at Yale, and spun out with seed backing from GreatPoint Ventures.

Californian thin-film solar developer Sierra Solar Power (whose website could define 'stealthy') reportedly raised $40m, but details remain vague.

Also in solar, Konarka, the Massachusetts-based 'Power Plastic' developer backed by heavyweight VCs including 3i, DFJ and Good Energies, announced a $5m loan from a brace of state-backed agencies. Konarka reopened an old Polaroid factory in Massachusetts in the autumn, and the new funding could be a sign that the firm is finally moving into commercial production.

Further reading
The Sunday Times reports that the BVCA (British Venture Capital Association) has launched a new cleantech-focused group to lobby for extra subsidies and regulatory certainty to support the industry. The energy, environment and technology group is understood to be headed by HG Capital's Tom Murley. More as we get it.

Lots of excitement in the US about the 'green new deal' contained within the new president's $787bn stimulus package. Ucilia Wang at Greentech Media details the incentives for such cleantech sectors as solar, wind, smart grid, batteries and hybrid vehicles; while Katie Fehrenbacher at Earth2Tech picks out what might be the most important part, a slightly ambiguous passage that could boost energy efficiency by decoupling energy sales from profits.

And from Greentech's Michael Kanellos, a solid report on Scotland's green push, as led by the oil and gas operators. Best line: If geography is destiny, a renewables industry seems inevitable. The weather is terrible.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Clean Sweep 55

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

German biomass tech developer Maxxtec has raised Euro10m from corporate VC Siemens Venture Capital. Siemens VC takes a 20% stake in the company, in the first deal from its new Growth Capital programme of later-stage investment.
Maxxtech provides a range of hardware for biomass power generation and industrial waste-to-energy plants, including heat recovery systems, steam generators, and low-temperature modules, as well as support services.

Renewable packaging group Xylophane has wrapped a SKr34m (£2.8m) round from Sweden's SEB Venture Capital and Belgium's Capricorn Cleantech Fund.
The Gothenburg-based company is developing a biopolymer material that can replace polymer- and aluminium-based materials in food and chemical packaging.

Israeli concentrating solar firm Aora (formerly EDIG Solar) has closed a $5m first round led by EZKlein Partners. The firm is working on what it claims will be the world’s first commercial hybrid solar thermal gas-turbine power station. The pilot plant, which is planned to begin operations in late March, will produce 100KW of electricity and 170KW of heat.

Across the pond, wind industry supplier TPI Composites closed a $20m second round from engineering and infrastructure giant GE and existing investors. The investment follows a $22m first round in October '07.
The Arizona-based firm manufactures custom blades for wind turbines, as well as products for transport and military vehicle applications, using a VOC-free infusion moulding process.

Californian solar installer Borrego Solar Systems raised $14m from an unnamed corporate investor. It's the first venture funding for the 29-year-old company, which is planning major geographic expansion.

A couple of electric car tech developers raised first rounds. Coulomb Technologies raised a $3.5m round led by Germany's Estag Capital, some way below its original target. California-based Coulomb is rolling out what it calls 'the most advanced networked vehicle charging infrastructure for plug-in vehicles'. (Rival network developer Better Place meanwhile announced a Euro103m deal to roll out a network in Denmark, alongside utility partner Dong Energy.)
Texas-based KLD Energy raised $1m from an unidentified private investor. The firm is developing low-RPM transmissionless motors for electric bikes and trikes, and is looking to begin production in Vietnam later this year.

Further reading
New Energy Finance predicts a year of consolidation for clean energy. The solar sector should see particularly strong consolidation as module prices fall by up to 40%, while geothermal and smart grid tech (which NEF dubs 'digital energy') will see investment soar. For more, see the press release (56kb pdf).
NEF has also released a handy fact pack on clean energy investment (1.6mb pdf), prepared for the Davos World Economic Forum meeting.