Recent Posts:

Two Big Deals for Hot Desalination Company

Michael Kanellos: July 31, 2008, 4:26 AM
It's been a good month for Energy Recovery. The company, which makes energy efficient systems for desalinating seawater, pulled off an IPO in the beginning of July in the middle of a swoon on the stock market. The stock is trading in the $11 range, or 40 percent plus the initial price. Ironically, the IPO took place a day after there was much hand-wringing about the lack of IPOs. And since then, it's announced two big deals. The company will supply equipment to the Hadera Sea Water Reverse Osmosis Desalination Plant going up near Haifa, Israel. The plant, being built by IDE Technologies, will open in 2009. Initially it will be capable of converting 100 million cubic meters of...

A Killing (and Feeding) Machine for Algae

Michael Kanellos: July 31, 2008, 3:34 AM
OriginOil should have called itself Shake and Bake. The Los Angeles-based company--one of the several start-ups trying to produce oil from algae--is seeking a patent on its process for growing and subsequently harvesting oil from the single-celled buggers with vibrations. The process, roughly, works like this. Nutrients such as carbon dioxide are injected into the growing medium and then fractured into micron-sized bubbles with ultrasonic waves. Breaking down the nutrients makes the nutrients easier to absorb (just as if you were incapacitated and someone pre-chewed your food for you.). Thus, the algae grow faster. Then, when it comes time to harvest water and other...

Solyndra Ascendant?

Eric Wesoff: July 31, 2008, 3:03 AM
Fremont, California-based Solyndra is a secretive solar company.  As secretive as you can be when you have 400+ employees, are looking for a valuation of greater than a billon dollars, and occupy a 183,000 square foot building on the side of a major highway.  (I’ve verified those valuation claims from a number of Silicon Valley Venture Capitalists who passed on the funding deal.) But today we get two big Solyndra contract announcements from: Solar Power, an OTC-traded, Shenzen-based module manufacturer and “vertically integrated, turnkey solar power solutions provider,??? with an agreement to purchase approximately $325M worth of Solyndra solar panels over the next five...

Senate Republicans (Mostly) Vote Against ITC

Daniel Englander: July 30, 2008, 5:46 AM
Shame on you, Harry Reid. At 11:50 a.m. today the bill containing extensions for the production and investment tax credits was voted down in the Senate. Democrats failed to gain the 60 votes necessary to invoke cloture and start floor debate on S. 3335, the Jobs, Energy, Family, and Disaster Relief Act of 2008, picking up only 51 votes in favor compared to 43 against the motion. Senators McCain and Obama abstained, while Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) voted against the motion. This is the fourth time this summer the Senate has failed to move ahead with debate on production and investment tax credits, dampening hopes that the tax credits will be extended past 2008. The...

EEStor Comes Out of Its Hidey Hole With Milestone

Michael Kanellos: July 30, 2008, 4:28 AM
Companies like EEStor make it worthwhile for reporters and analysts to come to work. The Texas-based start-up hopes to bring ultracapacitors to market that some claim will dramatically improve the performance and drop the price of electric cars. Lockheed Martin, which signed a development deal with the company, says EEStor is on track to produce devices that sport an energy density ten times the density found in lead acid batteries at a tenth of the weight and volume. Canada's Zenn Motors is an investor and plans to bring a sedan out based around EEStor's parts. The ultracapacitor will recharge in minutes too, compared to hours for a battery. Critics aren't buying it. Potential...

Anchorage to Join LED Cities Club

Michael Kanellos: July 29, 2008, 9:38 AM
This will be a good test to see if the light coming from light emitting diodes is warm enough. Anchorage, Alaska in conjunction with LED maker Cree will replace the 16,000 light fixtures, about one-fourth of the streetlights in town, with LEDs. The swap should save the city about $360,000 a year in electricity, judging by current prices. The city will likely save a similar amount of money in lower maintenance costs. LEDs last longer than traditional sodium lights so fewer maintenance crews are required. The city could also provide an interesting place to test the quality of light. LEDs have historically been bogged down by two issues: their comparatively high cost compared to...

Energy Notes and Scoops From Silicon Valley

Eric Wesoff: July 29, 2008, 3:05 AM
I was shopping in Whole Foods, Palo Alto the other day (Don’t get the wrong idea – I do not drive a Prius like our CEO, I drive a 1971 Datsun 240Z) and while buying cheese (Jarslberg, not Brie), I ran into a notable VC with an investment in an algae development company. This investor, who asked to remain nameless, lamented the difficulty of even finding the right species of algae, let alone scaling up to the volumes required. Then, buying chocolate, I ran into the CEO of another algae firm, also requesting anonymity (seems like a trend). He said that achieving real volume in algae to biodiesel production is four to seven years away. Which seems realistic but also seems to fall...