Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Clean Sweep 61

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

Water management group i2O Water has raised £4.2m growth funding in a round led by Swarraton Partners.
Southampton-based i2O is commercialising a software-based system for controlling the pressure of water as it's piped into district systems. By reducing pressure when demand falls, the sytem can significantly reduce leaks and distribution losses.
The tech has undergone trials in the UK, and i2O plans to use its new funding to move into water-stressed areas such as Australia and the Mediterranean.

Belgian start-up NovoPolymers has secured a Euro3m first round from Gimv and Capricorn Venture Partners. The Flanders firm is developing transparent polymer films for use in PV modules, and says its NovoVellum product can increase production efficiency by 25%. The new funding will be invested in R&D and scaling up production.

German fuel cell developer P21 closed a Euro10m round led by Dutch cleantech specialist Yellow&Blue.
P21 produces PEM hydrogen fuel cell systems to power off-grid telecom towers and base stations, and is currently operating in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. The Munich-based firm was spun off from Vodafone in 2001.

Swedish cleantech VC Sustainable Technologies Fund and existing investor InnovationsKapital have invested SKr35m (Euro3.3m) in high-efficiency transformers producer Hexaformer.
The Västervik-based company is commercialising electric transformers based on an symmetrical winding design which can reduce grid losses and cut costs by 5-15%.
Sustainable Technologies Fund also announced a SKr15m investment in woodchip generator group Swebo Bioenergy.

French VC Evolem has invested Euro2.2m in solar installer Evasol for a small minority stake. The Lyon-based group sources its PV systems from Tenesol, which is wholly owned by Total and EDF, and expects revenues of some Euro70m this year.

Israeli electric vehicle tech developer ETV Motors secured a $12m first round from stealthy cleantech VC Quercus Trust and 21 Ventures.
ETV is developing a microturbine charger, Li-ion batteries and other tech for long-range electric vehicles.

US battery developer Deeya Energy raised $30m in an oversubscribed third round. New investor Technology Partners led the round, alongside existing investors BlueRun Ventures, DFJ, Element Partners and New Enterprise Associates.
California-based Deeya is commercialising a redox flow battery technology developed at NASA in the 1970s. Its pilot product, the wardrobe-sized ESP 6000, is rated at 6KWh and is designed to support small renewable installations or serve as back-up.

Energy management firm Powerit Solutions closed a $6m round from corporate VCs Siemens Venture Capital and ArcelorMittal's Clean Technology Fund as well as existing investors @Ventures and Expansion Capital Partners.
The Seattle firm provides automated hardware and software systems, based on tech originally developed in Sweden, to help commercial and industrial clients reduce their energy use.
Also in energy management, New York's CPower raised a $10.7m second round, led by new investor Mayfield Fund and including existing investors including Bessemer Venture Partners and Expansion Capital Partners. The investment will be used to move into new regions and vertical markets.

The self-explanatory Plas2Fuel raised a $4.25m first round from Chrysalix, Saffron Hill Ventures and Reference Capital Management. The Washington firm is commercialising a proprietary process for cracking plastics waste into synthetic crude oil.

And in China, silicon PV developer Chint Solar (aka Astronergy) raised an impressive $50m first round led by Cybernaut Growth Fund and Shangai Alliance Investment.
The Hangzhou company produces single crystal silicon cells and modules, and is developing low-cost amorphous thin-film cells.

Fund news
HSBC Specialist Investments, an infrastructure and real estate subsidiary of the global bank, has announced a first closing of its HSBC Environment Infrastructure Fund at Euro117m. Final target is Euro500m.
The fund will invest in renewable energy, waste management and water treatment projects, primarily in Europe. The fund has already taken a 49% stake in Partnership for Renewables, a joint venture with the UK Carbon Trust to develop 500MW of renewable assets on public sector land.

Norwegian specialist VC Energy Ventures has raised a NKr85m (£8.6m) top-up fund from existing investors to provide continued for companies backed by its Energy Ventures II KS fund. Such top-up or annex funds are an increasingly common way for VC and private equity investors to provide for their portfolio during the downturn.

US VC giant New Enterprise Associates has reportedly raised $2.15bn for its 13th fund. Target is $2.5bn, cut from an initial $3bn. NEA has substantial cleantech investments, including solar developers Konarka, HelioVolt and SolFocus.

The European Bank of Reconstruction and Development has committed a further Euro3-5bn funding for renewable and energy efficiency projects in Eastern Europe under its Sustainable Energy Initiative. The investment aims to trigger up to Euro15bn total investment.
The first phase of the initiative saw the EBRD invest Euro2.7bn over 2006-08 in projects worth a total Euro14bn.

Further reading
The troubled London Array offshore windfarm took a step forward as the project's three core developers agreed to push ahead following Shell's exit last year. Denmark's Dong Energy (which owns 50% of the project), utility group E.On (30%) and Abu Dhabi's Masdar (20%) confirmed that they would invest Euro2.2bn in the first 630MW phase.

The UK government's smart meter programme slowly gathers pace with a consultation on roll-out and meter functionality. The aim is a smart meter in every home and business by 2020.

The Carbon Trust has announced a partnership with the China Energy Conservation Investment Corporation to share low-carbon innovation. The venture aims to introduce and support UK businesses into China and to help leverage further public and private sector funding.

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