Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Clean Sweep 68

A round-up of recent news in clean technology and cleantech investment. I've been laid up with a cold for the past week, so plenty to catch up on.

Cellulosic biofuel developer TMO Renewables has closed a £11m round, with Presnow, Diverso and Libra Advisors joining existing investors Jupiter Asset Management, Noble Group, and RAB Capital.
Guildford-based TMO plans to use thermophilic bacteria, as found in compost heaps, to convert cellulosic waste into ethanol. The firm completed its first demonstration unit earlier this year.

Loughborough-based fuel cell developer Intelligent Energy announced it had raised $30m new equity from existing and new investors.
Intelligent Energy produces a range of PEM fuel cell stacks and power systems, and supporting technologies, and is working with utility and industrial partners including SSE, Suzuki and Boeing. The firm previously raised $13.6m in July 2008.

Climate Change Capital Private Equity has backed a management buyout at building efficiency firm Climate Energy. The Essex-based business advises public and private sector bodies on improving the energy efficiency of their buildings. Funding was not disclosed.

Irish biomass developer Imperative Energy reportedly secured Euro30m venture funding from an un-named London-based venture firm. (Edit: Imperative has confirmed the investment as coming from Rockfield Energy Investments.)

Belgian VC Capricorn Venture Partners has doubled its investment in Norwegian silicon recycler Metallkraft. Capricorn invested NKr33m (Euro3.5m) in the firm in December 2008.
Metallkraft is commercialising a process for recycling the silicon carbine slurry used in the wafer cutting stage of standard PV cell manufacturing. In what it calls an 'ongoing share expansion programme', the Kristiansand company also secured NKr66m from Norwegian fund Investinor last month.

Biggest deal in the US came from PV cell manufacturer Suniva, which confirmed a $75m third round led by new investor Warburg Pincus. Apex Venture Partners, NEA, HIG Ventures and Advanced Equities also joined in. The round actually closed in Q2, making it the biggest solar VC deal for the first half of the year.
Georgia-based Suniva is currently preparing a second 64MW production line for its high-efficiency monocrystalline silicon cells.

Solar installer SunRun raised a $18m second round from Accel Partners and previous investor Foundation Capital. The California firm provides domestic solar electricity systems on a pay-as-you-go lease basis.

A whole bunch of smart grid and energy-monitoring deals. Sequoia Capital led a $32m third round in eMeter, a Californian provider of energy management software for consumers.
Local rival Advanced Telemetry raised an undisclosed second round from Quercus Trust and 21Ventures for its wireless energy management systems.
Energy monitoring and home security provider iControl raised a $23m third round from new investors ADT Security Services, Cisco, Comcast Interactive Capital and GE Security, and existing investors Charles River Ventures, Intel Capital and KPCB.
Still in California, smart grid networking firm Grid Net raised an undisclosed third round led by Braemar Energy Ventures, plus previous investors Catamount Ventures, GE Energy Financial Services and Intel Capital.
And Californian-Irish Powervation, which produces IC-based energy management tech, announced a $10m second round from SEP, Intel Capital, Venture Tech Alliance and Fourth Level Ventures.
Intel Capital also invested in energy management group CPower, in an extension of the New York firm's second round (previously closed at $10.7m in April). CPower provides demand response, energy efficiency and other management systems for corporate clients.
It's probably safe to say this is a fairly hot sector at the moment.

Battery tech also remains popular, with thin-film lithium-polymer developer Solicore closing a $13.3m fourth round led by manufacturer Rogers Corp. Previous investors DFJ, Rho Ventures, Braemar Energy Ventures, OPG Ventures and Firelake Capital also returned. The new funding goes towards ramping up production and global marketing for the Florida firm's batteries, which are used in smart cards, sensors and medical devices.
And printed carbon-zinc battery manufacturer Blue Spark Technologies announced it had raised $1.5m of a planned $5m second round, from Early Stage Partners, Sunbridge Partners and others. The Ohio firm is primarily aiming its products at the battery-assisted RFID market.

Electric car developer Coda Automotive announced a $24m second round from Angeleno Group and a host of individual investors including former Treasury chief Hank Paulson. The Californian company is preparing to launch its electric sedan, powered by Li-ion batteries, in 2010. The new funding goes towards development, marketing, and a battery production joint venture.

Fund news
Chinese cleantech investor Nature Elements Capital is looking to raise $350m to invest in clean energy projects and cleantech manufacturers. The firm is headed by KK Chan, formerly head of Chinese investments for Climate Change Capital. See Environmental Finance for more.

France's Demeter Partners announced a second close, at Euro182m, of its new Demeter 2 fund. The fund will focus on expansion capital opportunities in what Demeter calls 'eco-energies and eco-industries in France and other European countries'.

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