Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Clean Sweep 73

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

Deals
UK cleantech specialist Ludgate Environmental Fund has made a follow-on investment of Euro2.3m in portfolio company agri.capital. The investment bring's Ludgate's total investment up to Euro7.3m.
M√ľnster-based agri.capital produces biogas from manure and silage feedstocks, and currently operates at 44 sites with total capacity of 32MW. The new investment will support organic growth and acquisitions.

French solar installer Eco-Energy has secured Euro4m funding from Naxicap Partners, Agregator Capital and Vatel Capital.
The Nantes-based company provides PV roof installations for agricultural and industrial buildings.

Danish wind industry supplier Skykon has raised a 'large three digit million kroner' investment from Swedish investor EQT.
Skykon is a holding company with five subsidiaries (including Scotland's Welcon Towers) offering a range of products to the wind turbine industry, from blade tooling to turnkey towers. The new funding supports new production facilities and other developments.

Fuel cell developer Powercell Sweden has secured SKr60m (Euro5.8m) from the government-backed Fouriertransform fund.
Powercell, a spin-out from Volvo Group, is developing PEM fuel cells and related technology for transport and other applications. The firm's converters can produce hydrogen gas from current fuels including petrol and diesel.
The investment is the first from the Fouriertransform fund, which is dedicated to venture investment in the automotive sector.

US biochemicals developer DNP Green Technology has closed a $12m first round led by French VC Sofinnova Partners. Other investors include Mitsui & Co Venture Partners, Samsung Ventures Investment Corporation, The Cliffton Group and AquaRIMCO.
HQ'd in New Jersey, DNP uses agricultural feedstocks to synthesise succinic acid, a precursor for a variety of plastics and other chemicals. The group also operates a joint venture with French research group ARD.

Concentrating solar tech developer Infinia has raised a further $14m, according to filings. Last year, the Washington firm raised $57m from investors including Khosla Ventures, Power Play Energy and Vulcan Capital.
Infinia is developing thermal conversion generations based on Stirling engines, and has also secured around $9.4m in government funding.

Thin-film PV developer Ampulse has closed a $8m round led by Globespan Capital Partners and El Dorado Ventures.
Colorado-based Ampulse is developing crystalline silicon thin film cells, produced using hot-wire chemical vapour deposition techniques. The firm says its tech can double module efficiency while cutting costs by 75%, compared with current thin-film Si.

Recycling services provider Recyclebank landed a $28.25m third round led by NGEN Partners and DFJ. The Philadelphia-based firm works with waste companies and local authorities to encourage consumers to recycle by giving reward points for green actions, and is expanding into the UK.
NGEN and DFJ also led a $12.2m first round in energy services group Renewable Funding. The California firm is a leading financer of Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs, which help homeowners invest in energy efficiency and renewables projects.

Water treatment start-up MicroMedia Filtration raised $3m from Sail Venture Partners. The California firm uses a string of chemical and physical processes to produce irrigation-quality water from raw sewage.
Sail is also preparing to close its second cleantech fund at $250m, with $32 already invested.


Fund news
Scottish angel investor Par Equity and energy consultancy Senergy are jointly launching a £50m renewables fund.
The Par Sustainability Fund 1 will focus on opportunities in onshore and offshore wind, ¬geothermal, waste-to-energy and recycling, with investments of £500k-2m . Insitutional fundraising will start in the new year.

Carbon Trust Investments has been granted an extra £18m from the Department of Energy and Climate Change to invest in UK-based cleantech companies. The extra money is intended to fill a funding gap over the next 12-18 months, following a drop in commercial VC activity.

Cleantech specialist Impax Asset Management has raised an extra £15m from the Environment Agency's pension fund. The EA fund made an initial investment of £35m in Impax last year.

Olympus Capital has reportedly closed its Asia Environmental Partners fund at $250m. The fund will back around a dozen clean energy, waste and water treatment companies around Asia and India.
Also in India, the Prithvi Sustainability Innovation and Technology Fund launched with a target of $150m. The fund is though to be the first domestic specialist investor in Indian cleantech, and will target investments of $5-15m.

Dutch investment manager Robeco is raising a third cleantech fund-of-funds, to at least match its $640m Clean Tech Private Equity II. See Environmental Finance for more.


Further reading
Fred Pearce in New Scientist takes a sceptical look at the Saharan solar Desertec project. The project partners, including Munich Re, RWE, Siemens, E.On and other financial and industry players, formed a joint venture company last week to develop the Euro400bn scheme.

Details of 37 transformational energy research projects backed by $151m from the US Department of Energy's ARPA-E. Some interesting stuff, from grid-scale batteries to carbon capture.

More from Rob Day of Cleantech Investing on the broken model of cleantech VC. Entertaining comments follow.

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