cleantech insights

Oil & Gas Industry’s Embrace of Clean Technology – Catching Up with Jean-Michel Gires of Chrysalix


The majority perception of the term “cleantech” dictates that folks often think my company, Cleantech Group, must be entirely uninterested in working with large traditional players in the oil & gas (O&G) industry. Indeed, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, our data from i3 and my interview with Jean-Michel Gires, former President & CEO of Total E&P Canada and now the newest Venture Partner at Chrysalix Energy Venture Capital, reveal that the O&G industry is embracing clean technology more closely than ever before.

O&G Corporates Partnering with Proven Innovators

Cleantech start-ups often have it tough. Those developing technologies that require more capital and time to scale than traditional “tech” startups lead some investors to argue that the sector just doesn’t fit the traditional venture capital model. And, like biomedical start-ups, some cleantech start-ups often face highly-regulated or otherwise-entrenched traditional industries where innovation is slower to take root.

It is with this backdrop that we see large O&G companies as important drivers of cleantech innovation. Large balance sheets allow for impactful investments and we’re seeing more and more O&G majors starting to embrace innovation more directly with dedicated venturing arms and co-investments with industry peers (see chart at …


Ever wonder what happens to the cleantech companies you see pitch at Cleantech Forums?

Kate McArdle

At every Cleantech Forum, we give a handful of select cleantech companies the chance to get on stage and pitch their investment opportunities to the audience. Ever wonder if those companies go on to meet investors and secure funding? The answer is yes: companies that present in our Entrepreneur Showcase have gone on to collectively raise over $3.5 billion. But don’t take our word for it. Here’s your chance to hear directly from an executive at one such company.

Frank Roerink is the CFO of Avantium, a leading cleantech company (and a 2010 and 2011 Global Cleantech 100 company) that develops and commercializes the chemical “building blocks” needed for green materials and biofuels. Frank told us that “being able to present Avantium in well-structured showcase sessions allowed us to make connections within the entire cleantech value chain with a broad range of companies.” Want to learn more? Head over to our Entrepreneur Section to read a case study about how Avantium’s participation at Cleantech Forums helped the company secure a EUR 30M round »

Biofuels 2.0: Going back to the future?

Josh Gould

I should start by pointing out I’m not Cleantech Group’s biofuels analyst (my colleague Stephen Marcus in London has that well-deserved title).  Nor do I claim to have deep expertise in biofuels.  My focus is on energy storage and energy efficiency.

But recent developments have led me to pay more attention to biofuels.  The most obvious development is an oil price climbing past $100 a barrel.  By conventional wisdom – about which we should always be skeptical – we are still in the early stages of an economic recovery.  As that recovery strengthens, we typically see upward pressure on the price of oil.  Given that we are “starting” at $100, it seems there is at least the potential for very high oil prices.  And this is to say nothing of potential effects from ongoing political turmoil in the Middle East.

The difficulty for oil companies (or cleantech investors, for that matter) is making investment decisions today about companies, technologies, and refining capacity that will not be fully realized for years.  While few are on record betting on continued high prices, investors are making predictions with their wallets.  Witness recent biofuels deals by major oil companies (here or here). …

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)…

Green material company seeks £16M to expand into international markets

Mia Javier

If you drive a car, you are likely unaware of the processes various parts have endured. Door lock mechanisms and tie-down hooks on truck beds – to name a few examples – are covered with anti-corrosive coating to ensure product lifetime.

The manufacturing process associated with coating technologies, however, is so toxic that China and the European Union have implemented new regulations that prohibit traditional technologies including plating, zinc flake and hot dip galvanized. Such processes produce toxic fumes and hazardous waste by-product.

Cleveland-based, UK incorporated company, Greenkote, has developed a surface metal coating technology that not only replaces but outperforms toxic conventional coating technologies. The company has developed a proprietary process by which the coating product is diffused onto the metal, creating a dry process that eliminates toxic fumes and hazardous waste.

“Not only is the material environmentally friendly, the process is environmentally friendly,” Jim Thomson, the company’s chief financial officer told the Cleantech Group.

The process helps save on costs as well, Thomson told us, since the elimination of hazardous waste mitigates the need for cleanup management costs.

According to Thompson, Greenkote aims to license their technology to the component manufacturers or ‘Tier 1s’ that directly produce …