Friday, 16 October 2009

Clean Sweep 72

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

Waste treatment group New Earth Solutions secured £5m from Ludgate Environmental Fund as part of an ongoing £15m fundraising round.
The Dorset-based group provides waste services, including a proprietary temperature-controlled composting process, for local authorities across southern and central England. Its New Earth Energy subsidiary, launched last year, offers gasification and pyrolosis waste-to-energy systems.

Scottish wind turbine manufacturer Proven Energy landed an extra £1.5m from Low Carbon Accelerator. Along with a conversion of an existing £600,000 loan into equity, the new round gives LCA an 81% stake in the company.
Ayrshire-based Proven is a leading producer of small-scale (3-15kW) turbines. The new funding aims to position the company to take advantage of the UK introduction of feed-in tariffs.

Green chemicals developer Plaxica raised £1m from existing investor Imperial Innovations, and government-backed Carbon Trust Investments and NESTA.
A spin-out from Imperial College London, Plaxica is developing a process to produce biopolymers suitable for packaging and industrial applications from sustainable feedstocks such as sugarcane.

Irish ocean power developer Wavebob raised a Euro3m interim funding package. Around half of that came as equity from BVP Investments and private backers, while Sustainable Energy Ireland and Enterprise Ireland provided grants.
Founded in 1999, Wavebob is developing a wave energy convertor invented by founder William Dick. The Kildare-based firm announced it was seeking a Euro25m round earlier this year.

Israeli PV tech group SolarEdge announced a $23m round from corporate investor GE Energy Financial Services, plus US VCs Opus Capital and Walden International, Israeli funds Genesis Partners and Vertex Venture Capital, and Singapore-based JP Capital Asia. SolarEdge provides embedded power harvesting and monitoring systems to improve the efficiency of solar panels.
GE Energy also announced investments in US smart grid firms Tendril (following its $30m third round in June) and Gridnet.

Canadian concentrating PV player Morgan Solar raised a $4.7m first round from a syndicate led by Turnstone Capital Management. Investors include the venture arms of Spanish wind developer Iberdrola, and US plastics manufacturer Nypro.
The investment helps Morgan commercialise its Sun Simba HCPV panel, which uses the firm's proprietary light-guide solar optic technology. The tech promises a low-cost way to concentrate light up to 14,000 suns, at up to 30% efficiency.

Fund news
Italian environmental VC Ambienta has closed its first fund at Euro217.5m. Institutional investors include Macquarie and Doughty Hanson.
The fund will invest across the environmental sector, from renewable energy to waste and water management, in the Euro10-30m range.

George Soros has pledged to invest $1bn in clean energy technology. No details as yet, but see Bloomberg for more.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Clean Sweep 71

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

Wave power developer Aquamarine Power raised £10m to support offshore testing of its Oyster device. Investors include Scottish & Southern Energy and Sigma Capital, who previously backed Aquamarine in 2007.
The Oyster is a hydro-electric wave energy converter, which uses the motion of the sea to pump high-pressure water to an on-shore generator. Each device has an effective peak output of 300-600kW. Edinburgh-based Aquamarine says it needs around £50m to commercialise Oyster, and will be launching another funding round shortly.

London-based smart grid operator ResponsiveLoad (aka RLTec) has secured an extra £5.8m. New investors Naxos Capital Partners and Carbon Trust Investments joined Low Carbon Accelerator (which committed an extra £1m).
LCA also announced £283 follow-on funding for quantum well PV developer QuantaSol.

Automotive fuel efficiency group Lysanda has secured a £1.3m second round from the Sustainable Technology Fund, managed by Curzon Park Capital.
Essex-based Lysanda provides emissions monitoring systems such as its Eco-Log product, which allows fleet managers to monitor their vehicles' fuel consumption and emissions based on real-time data from on-board diagnostic systems. In tests, the system delivers average fuel savings of 23%.

Wastewater treatment firm Bluewater Bio has raised a further £2m funding. Aqua Resources Fund, which invested £2.3m April put in another £1.5m.
London-based Bluewater is commercialisting an activated sludge technology called HYBACS, which can reduce the energy consumption and land requirements of treatment plants.

Welsh water monitoring firm Envirogene raised a £500k interim round from Finance Wales, RAB Capital and others. Envirogene, which raised a £1m second round last December, provides molecular diagnostics and nanoparticle tracing technology for the bioremediation and environmental monitoring sectors.

London-based I2BF Venture Capital led a $9m bridging round in South Korean ultracapacitor manufacturer Nesscap. Ultracapacitors are an emerging energy storage tech for automotive, micro-generation and other markets.
I2BF is an energy-focused subsidiary of Russian asset manager Arbat Capital Management.

Austrian biomass developer Cycleenergy secured a Euro10m second round led by the New Energy Fund run by Portugal's Banif Investment Managers. Existing investors 3i and 3TS Capital Partners also joined in.
The funding will allow Cycleenergy to double its current portfolio of three cogeneration plants.

Over the pond, greenconstruction group Serious Materials raised a $60m third round led by Mesirow Financial Capital. The deal is believed to be the largest to date for the energy-efficiency sector.
The California firm produces sustainable building materials such as energy-saving windows and non-gypsum drywall.
Also in Californian green building, Soladigm raised $20.7m - investors include the redoubtable Khosla Ventures and Sigma Partners.

More funding for a couple of Californian microbial biofuel developers: LS9 raised a $25m third round from Chevron Technology Ventures and others; and Amyris announced it had raised $41.75m of its planned $60m third round.

Still in California, solar installer Sungevity raised $6m to expand across the state. New investor Greener Capital led the round.

And San Diego's Achates Power has raised $12.12m of a planned $20m round, with existing investors including Sequoia Capital, InterWest Partners, Rockport Capital Partners and Madrone Capital Partners. Achates is developing a highly efficient diesel engine based on the Junkers Juno, but is keeping details close to its chest.

In one of those slightly tangential deals, Texas-based waste disposal group Liquid Environmental Solutions raised $20m from cleantech specialist Craton Equity Partners. LES specialises in collecting and treating grease and food waste from fast food outlets, school cafes and other establishments - if it's not then recycling it as a biofuel feedstock, it might be missing a trick.

Further reading
Cleantech VC totals topped biotech and ICT for the first time in the third quarter, according to analysis from the Cleantech Group and Deloitte. 134 cleantech companies secured a total $1.59bn, over a quarter of total VC for the quarter.
Some of the biggest individual rounds went to US companies which have secured significant government funding - including rooftop PV provider Solyndra (which last month raised a whopping $198m, mostly from existing investors) and electric car maker Tesla Motors, both of whom received around half a billion's worth of loan guarantees to fund new factories. Now, that's what I call a stimulus.
More quarterly number-crunching from New Energy Finance (pdf, 42kb) - $28.6bn new investment in clean energy, including $2.2bn VC and private equity, plus large doses of asset finance and quoted fundraisings

The UK's Department of Energy and Climate Change has announced an extra £20m in government-backed venture capital for clean energy. It's not new money, though - it's part of the £405m allocated to the low carbon agenda in this year's Budget.

Li-ion battery developer A123 Systems had a successful IPO last month - Business Insider and Earth2Tech look at how its VC backers did, while Rob Day at Cleantech Investing considers what it might mean for cleantech VC in general.

Finally, cheering news for free energy fans - Ireland's Steorn are coming back undaunted!