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Notes from the week

Rob Day: February 23, 2006, 10:52 PM
  • Interesting article in the FT on cleantech. Important point (highlighted by the Cleantech Venture Network's Nick Parker) made in the article is that the quality of entrepreneurs across cleantech segments is on the rise, often serial entrepreneurs. Having increasingly strong management teams to back is clearly one of the several encouraging factors in the cleantech market right now for venture investors.
  • The development of trading markets for the emissions reductions created by energy efficiency projects, the renewable energy credits ("green tags") created by green energy projects, and carbon credits overall, will all have important implications for the adoption of clean energy technologies by the private sector, even in the absence of regulatory change. Thus, the subject of this very informative post in Cleantechblog...
  • We always knew that pond scum will somehow save the planet... One has to wonder how this discovery would be implemented commercially. In a system similar to GreenFuel's? Large enclosed wading pools planted behind hydrogen vehicle refueling stations? If it's photosynthesis driven, it's going to require a lot of surface area and access to sunlight...

Cleantech investor news

Rob Day: February 23, 2006, 9:30 PM
  • Following up on the well-documented interest by Vinod Khosla in cleantech investing, comes word that Khosla Ventures has officially been launched. Khosla's already spearheaded several compelling clean technology investments, so it will be interesting to see how this focused effort comes along.
  • Norsk Hydro's corporate venture arm is setting up a new ~$60M fund, targeting energy technology investments. You can find a very good overview of their efforts and investments here.

ORYXE raises Series C to $27M

Rob Day: February 23, 2006, 9:22 PM
In a round that has been open for some time (or at least was re-opened), ORYXE announced today that their Series C has been increased to $27M with the addition of funding from Paladin Capital Group. ORYXE's fuel additive technology helps users of diesel fuel meet increasingly stringent emissions standards, and is already being offered in Texas.

Existing investors include Ridgewood Capital, Odyssey Venture Partners, and DSM Venturing.

More on PARC and SolFocus

Rob Day: February 16, 2006, 10:11 PM
Following up on the previous post regarding SolFocus and Xerox PARC, here are two good columns on the same topic (actually, here and here), with additional information and thoughts.

[Update: For a fantastic resource, see Xerox PARC's videotaped technology speaker series, many of which are on cleantech topics]

PS... On the topic of the broader cleantech investment thesis, there was this story today. "This is the kind of study that should make people stay awake at night wondering what we're doing to the climate, how we're shaping the planet for future generations and, especially, what we can do about it."

Cleantech company news

Rob Day: February 16, 2006, 6:44 AM
A few interesting news items from several cleantech companies have come out over the last couple of days:

  • Xerox PARC and solar concentrator PV startup SolFocus have announced that they're teaming up to develop commercial systems. SolFocus won the grand prize at the most recent NREL Growth Forum. You can read more about the PARC-SolFocus partnership here.
  • The next "Ginger"? Dean Kamen's technology (he invented the Segway, famously) for a cow dung-powered 1kW generator is apparently the focus of an effort by Grameen Phone's Iqbal Quadir to license the technology for use in providing water and power to rural villages. Quadir's startup, Emergence Energy, would then look to raise $30M in venture capital to bring the technology to market. As we discussed back in October, the device is apparently powered by a Stirling engine, and now it appears he's coupled a second device (this time the code name is "Slingshot") which provides clean water, as powered by the waste heat from the generator. Right now each prototype costs $100,000, but the hope is that the price can be dropped to 1-2% of that.
  • Why are investors hot on solar? Because of stories like this. 27x is a nice multiple, especially for an investment held less than 2 years...
  • A final note not related to any particular company: For the many, many, many of you who regularly contact me for thoughts on how to get a job in clean energy, if you're in the bay area on the 23rd, this general-public event seems tailor-made for you. For my own thoughts on the topic, there was this post a while back...