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What I Want for Christmas (for Cleantech)

David Cheng

As 2010 draws to a close, I thought I’d put together a list.  I don’t claim to be a prognosticator so I won’t make 2011 predictions.  I’m also not Oprah so I won’t make a list of my favorite things.  Instead, I thought I’d ask Santa (or Secretary Chu, the Obama Administration, the US Congress, World Leaders, etc.) for a few things I’d like for Christmas in 2011 for cleantech:

1. Comprehensive Federal Energy and Environmental Policy: When the Senate climate bill fell apart earlier this year and the midterms approached, any form of energy and environmental policy got scuttled away for partisan politics.  While I’m optimistic because California voted down Prop 23 (a bill that would’ve effectively ended AB32, the climate change legislation in California) and ARB is continuing its implementation of AB32, I am still anxious for federal leadership.

2. Cleantech IPOs!: Forget the seminal Netscape moment, venture capitalists (and former ones like myself), limited partners, entrepreneurs, and just about every stakeholder in the cleantech ecosystem want to see some exits.  And I’m not talking 2-3 times revenue multiple trade sales, I want infectious greed exits.  And there’s no better way for the …

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Imagine H2o Finalists Announced

Mia Javier

Imagine H2o,  recently announced the 10 finalists of their Water-Energy Nexus Competition. This competition aimed to identify the most promising start-ups that save energy in the distribution, treatment and usage of water. The incubator program coupled with their cash prizes, has proven to be an effective model for pulling innovation in this critical sector. The competition attracted a global field of over 50 startups.  Learn more about getting involved here: http://www.imagineh2o.org/takeaction.php

In the meantime, here is the list of finalists:

  • Cincinnati, Ohio-based Pilus Energy. The company is developing a technology that recovers energy from wastewater streams. Their electrogenic bioreactor harnesses genetically enhanced bacteria and harvests direct current (DC) electricity, biogases like hydrogen and isoprene and water from their metabolism of organic molecules.
  • Burlingame, California-based Nline Energy. The company has developed a technology that recovers waste energy from distribution systems while also providing automatic control and reporting features.
  • Pennsylvania-based, BlackGold Biofuels. The company has developed a technology that converts sewer fats, oils and greases into biodiesel. The company received attention as a Going Green Top 50 Winner and took 2nd place in Global Water Intelligence’s Water Investment Idol award.
  • Oregon-based, Puralytics. The company is developing a UV_based technology which utilizes UV

Weekly cleantech investment highlights

Stephen Marcus

Each week our research team tracks cleantech transactions across the globe. This week we recorded 24 venture deals, 4 fund announcements, 14 M&As and 5 IPO related announcements. Below are some of the highlights. Cleantech Group subscribers can see the full roundup of all the deals here.

VC, private company and corporate investments

Over $325 million was raised by 24 cleantech companies globally. The two largest deals were:

  • Colorado-based Abound Solar, a manufacturer of cadmium telluride, thin-film photovoltaic solar modules, raised $110 million from existing investors Invus Group, Bohemian Companies, DCM, Technology Partners, and new investors BP Alternative Energy Ventures and West Hill Companies. The investment will enable the company to expand the manufacturing capacity at its existing facility in Colorado and later at a second site in Indiana.
  • China-based ShineOn, a developer of high brightness LEDs, raised $50 million from GSR ventures, Northern Light Capital, and IDG Ventures.  ShineOn’s LED solutions are suitable for LCD backlighting as well as general lighting applications.

Funds

Announcements were made by 4 funds looking to raise over $1.8 billion. The top 2 were:

  • VantagePoint Venture Partners is raising a $1.5 billion fund dedicated toward late-stage green technology deals.  The fund’s main aim

New York Bans Controversial Drilling Practice

Mia Javier

Industrial impacts on our water sources cannot be removed from a nation’s water resource management approaches.

Recently, the state of New York has blown the whistle on the oil & gas industry’s controversial hydraulic fracking practice utilized in natural gas exploration. This method of drilling involves the high-pressure injection of water, sand and chemicals to release gas deposits. The concern is whether those chemicals are contaminating underground water sources and New York’s moratorium seeks to investigate this very issue.

This event is part of a larger movement towards more proactively protecting water resources. Governments, communities and industry alike are considering new technologies and approaches to water resource management.

For example, Kansas-based Layne Christensen – provider of water related products and services for the water, energy and mining sectors acquired Texas-based, Intevras Technologies, an acknowledgement of the wastewater produced in facking.  Intevras’ EVRAS evaporative system utilizes waste heat from the existing national gas compression via evaporation to treat 1,350 barrels per day of produced water from natural gas exploration. Oil & gas industry, take note.

Read full stories regarding New York’s recent moratorium on hydraulic fracking here:

GE & Kinrot Partnership to Develop New Water Technologies

Mia Javier

GE recently announced a partnership agreement Israel-based Kinrot Ventures, further casting out its net into water innovation by working with the globally recognized incubator. Coupled with GE’s venture challenge series for the electric smart grid, the company appears determined to pull innovation with such partnerships and contests. For the water industry, this is a much welcome pull. Local California incubator Imagine H2o, is one organization leading this type of effort.

Details of the partnership were released in a recent press release:

Under the agreement, GE—through its Power & Water and Global Research businesses—will provide strategic assistance to Kinrot Ventures’ portfolio of water companies, including the screening of new technologies and offering technical and market assistance. Steven Kloos, advanced technologies leader— water & process technologies for GE Power & Water, also will serve on Kinrots’ advisory board. Meanwhile, Kinrot will have the opportunity to assess and commercialize various GE water technologies.

Heiner Markhoff, President and CEO—Water & Process Technologies for GE Power & Water: “Kinrot Ventures is one of the world’s leading venture capital firms focusing on water, and we are excited about the prospects of this cooperative agreement. GE’s Water & Process Technologies business is ‘open for

Weekly cleantech investment highlights

Stephen Marcus

Each week our research team tracks cleantech transactions across the globe. This week we recorded 24 venture deals, 8 fund announcements, 16 M&As and 3 IPO related announcements. Below are some of the highlights. Cleantech Group subscribers can see the full roundup of all the deals here.

VC, private company and corporate investments

Over $400 million was raised by 24 cleantech companies globally. The two largest deals were:

  • China-based Standard Water Group, a wastewater treatment company, raised over $100 million from Themes Investment Partners, founded by former Och-Ziff Capital Management Group executive Frank Yu. Themes Partners and a group of investors will own more than 50 percent of the company after the transaction.
  • Ireland-based FleetMatics, a provider of GPS tracking applications enabling fuel and time efficiency in commercial fleets, raised $68 million from Institutional Venture Partners, Investcorp Technology Partners, and New World Ventures.

Funds

Announcements were made by 8 funds looking to raise over $3.5 billion. The top 2 were:

  • CDH Investment announced plans to raise a new RMB fund with a target size of RMB 10 billion ($1.5 billion) with a focus in cleantech, health care, TMT and consumer.  The fund is expected to be closed by mid-2011.

Hug Energy: Cleantech’s Paul Revere Moment

Greg Neichin

Those of us immersed day to day in the smart grid world have grown increasingly numb to new announcements in the home energy management space. Every week brings new product releases, acquisitions, and funding announcements for companies aiming to assist consumers in understanding energy use. It is incredibly important, however, to recognize that the echo chamber in which we spend most of our day is quite small.

For example, when Robert Scoble, one of the web world’s most well known bloggers and evangelists, sat down last month to interview Hug Energy co-founder Marcus Talhamn, he began the conversation by declaring, “you’re one of the first energy companies that I have interviewed.” Marcus responded that the space was surely heating up, but that there “weren’t a lot of web companies in the energy space.”

Forget the Netscape moment that many in the sector are eagerly anticipating.  In my opinion, we are reaching our Paul Revere moment: the hackers are coming. I use hackers as a term of endearment (see Paul Graham’s Great Hackers if you wrongly read “hacker” as a mischevious term) for the legions of talented web developers, creative software programmers, and data architects who …

The Carrot or the Stick for Automated Continuous Commissioning?

David Cheng

In this week’s Energy Efficiency Research Note (clients only), I provide brief commentary on the partnership by GE into Scientific Conservation as part of their ecoimagination Challenge.

Scientific Conservation’s value proposition is the concept of Automated Continuous Commissioning. NEMI reports that less than 5% of existing building stock has been commissioned so the opportunity is huge.

Yet, the convergence of disparate building automation systems towards a common IP platform is not widely deployed. Cleantech Group has distilled the hurdles that impede the convergence from BAS to IP to four Challenges. Each Challenge deserves individual attention but they are all interrelated.

I discuss Commissioning as a “Carrot” for wider adoption in this note as well as investment trends in energy efficiency software and services.…

Energy Storage: Washington D.C. Is Not All Bad

Josh Gould

Yes, we’re all well aware of the current opprobrium United States’ citizens have for the politicians in Washington D.C.  But – regardless of your political views – one excellent event happened in early November in D.C.  And that was the U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Storage Systems Program (ESS) Update Conference at the Washington DC Marriott Hotel on Nov. 2 - 4, 2010.

The annual conference was attended by over 500 people, which blew past the typical attendance of roughly 150.  The program covered the ESS program’s  energy storage-related projects, and featured the latest in cutting edge storage technologies, startups, and products.

The conference was notable for the increasing influence of big companies in the storage space.  It marks the continued shift of the industry away from one dominated by venture investors and startups, to one where large companies are developing, scouting, investing in and partnering with new storage technologies and startups.

For those not able to attend this ground-breaking event, please read our Research Note here on what we learned in Washington D.C. (Cleantech Group subscribers only)…

Weekly cleantech investment highlights

Stephen Marcus

Each week our research team tracks cleantech transactions across the globe. This week we recorded 15 venture deals, 4 fund announcements, 20 M&As and 2 IPO related announcements. Below are some of the highlights. Cleantech Group subscribers can see the full roundup of all the deals here.

VC, private company and corporate investments

Over $225 million was raised by 15 cleantech companies globally. The two largest deals were:

  • Canada-based GFL Waste & Recycling Solutions, a provider of waste and water treatment services, raised C$105 million ($103 million) from Roark Capital Group. Roark invested C$60 million at closing and has committed C$45 million more for organic and acquisition growth opportunities.
  • Virginia-based Opower, a developer of energy efficiency and smart grid software, raised $50 million from Kleiner Perkins, Accel Partners and New Enterprise Associates.  The funding will go towards launching new products in 2011 and scaling up to quadruple its current customer base.

Funds

Announcements were made by 4 funds looking to raise over $300 million. The top 2 were:

  • UK-based technology-focused venture capital firm Rockley Group doubled the size of its China fund to $200 million following an agreement to raise a $100 million fund in partnership with the Shanxi