| May 2nd 2013
In 2008 Sulfurcell, a German thin-film solar developer to be renamed Soltecture, raised €85 million in one of the largest European cleantech deals that year. Four out of the six investors were pureplay cleantech funds: BankInvest New Energy Solutions, Climate Change Capital, Demeter Partners and Zouk Capital.
On April 18 2013, James Russell took the stage at the 9th European Cleantech Forum to receive the award for Fundraise of the Year. As CEO of Tamar Energy he raised £97 million for a new venture developing anaerobic digestion in the UK. His backers included the private wealth of Lord Rothschild and the Duchy of Cornwall, asset manager RIT Capital Partners, UK retail giant Sainsbury’s and Islamic finance fund Fajr Capital.
It is clear to all in the market that the cleantech fundraising environments of 2008 and 2013 are very different, however the exact nature of our new environment is not so evident. Earlier this year Cleantech Group, in partnership with Georgieff Capital Advisors, set out to put numbers against the hype and shine a light through the fog of fundraising for European cleantech companies seeking capital.
One of the analyses performed was on 60 of the most active …
| June 22nd 2011
If you were to spend time in our research department you would normally hear only the patter of keyboards, with occasional bubbles of technical questions punctuating the tranquil atmosphere. However one morning this week the peace was broken by animated argument, all over one company and whether it should be profiled in our i3 platform: GlassPoint Solar.
A perfect test case for any definition of cleantech, GlassPoint has developed an innovative solar system for producing steam to be used in extracting oil. On the one hand this technology removes the need to burn natural gas to produce steam, on the other it reduces the cost of extracting oil. You can imagine the lines of debate, one side pointing negative environmental impact of oil and therefore anything that makes its extraction cheaper, while the other pointing to reduced natural gas consumption.
An over-simplistic labeling of this dichotomy would be to characterize the two sides as ‘idealists’ and ‘pragmatists’, however I believe this is to miss a fascinating insight into the nature of cleantech. If you were to measure the immediate environmental impact of GlassPoint and its customers you would find little clean to justify its inclusion as clean…
| June 9th 2011
If there is one thing the cleantech space has enough of, it is rankings, lists and awards. I am personally aware of more than 100 and got the feeling this may have all gone too far when I came across Energy Priorities’ ‘Top 10 “Cleantech Top 10″ Lists for 2011’.
However it is clear that this plethora of rankings and lists exist for a reason; people crave a light of clarity to be shone through the fog that permeates our fast moving sector. Even a full time analyst has to make a concerted effort to keep abreast of the sector’s developments, with a constantly shifting legislative framework and torrential investment activity: we saw 165 venture and 217 M&A deals last quarter alone (see Cleantech Group’s Quarterly Investment Monitor).
There is one question that is central to all stakeholders in our industry: who are the most promising cleantech companies out there? Start-ups need to know the benchmark of success, and all aspire to be recognised in such a category. Investors need to know who to invest in; corporates need to know where to source the next wave of disruptive innovation.
Many approaches have been taken to provide …
| May 18th 2011
The natural world is changing. 90 years ago cheap energy, plentiful water and a stable climate were beyond question; today none of these have certain futures.
The business world is changing. 90 years ago the average duration of a company in the S&P 500 was over 60 years; today it is only 10 years.
In this volatile environment the corporate is in a challenging situation, with the weight of regulatory pressure coming down from governments and eruptions of creative destruction bursting up from smaller companies. Only this month the UK Government announced legally binding carbon reduction targets that will keep the country on track for 60% reductions on 1990 levels by 2030, a measure that will drastically affect business over the coming decades.
However, as in all times of disruption and change, there will be both winners and losers. While there is much to lose for established corporates, there is also plenty to gain if the threat of disruptive technology can be harnessed into opportunity, through proactive innovation strategies. The global market for cleantech products is projected to double to $3.5 trillion by 2020, showing there is plenty of money to be made in the right areas. Research undertaken by …
| May 12th 2011
While the fully automated house remains a pipe dream of home energy management, energy efficiency in office buildings has progressed to the development of building management systems (BMS). Building Management Systems are centralised, programmed specifically for the needs of their building and have traditionally managed HVAC, along with lighting and access control more recently. While these systems allow much of a buildings energy use to be centrally controlled, they cannot control plug-in devices. They are also inflexible, as adapting to changes in a building’s use after BMS installation requires expensive servicing from a programmer and so are not frequently updated.
Currently the most common answer to the challenge of saving energy in plug-in appliances is discrete plug-in control devices, for example timers. These share none of the drawbacks of BMS as they are easily to implement and adapt and are not limited to HVAC and lighting energy savings. However these plug-in devices also share none of BMS’s advantages, as they cannot be coordinated across a building and are easily stolen, making them inappropriate for education and public access settings.
In May 2009 SenseLogix was founded with the aim of filling this gap between BMS and discrete plug-in controls and providing …
| May 4th 2011
As an analyst with the Cleantech Group, I have been privileged to meet some of the UK’s most creative and committed people: its cleantech entrepreneurs. This small group of innovators are working courageously, often against the odds, to produce the next generation of technologies that will allow society to prosper through looming challenges. If Winston Churchill were born 100 years later he may well have said of these entrepreneurs, “Never in the field of human innovation was so much owed by so many to so few”.
When it comes to cleantech innovation, the UK has much to be confident about: The INSEAD Global Innovation Index ranks the UK 4th in the world for ‘culture of innovation’ and ‘quality of scientific research institutions’ and we have a government that has stated its desire to be the “greenest government ever”. UK cleantech entrepreneurs have benefited from partnerships with world leading universities and a raft of helpful legislation, including the Renewable Heat Incentive, Code for Sustainable Homes and Feed-in Tariff. However they still face significant challenges: in a Cleantech Group research project, conducted in April 2011 on behalf of the Carbon Trust, 29% of UK cleantech entrepreneurs cited …