Apparently, there are other ways of raising money rather than begging the federal government.

Prometheus Energy, which says it has a technique for cost-effectively converting trash into liquefied natural gas (LNG), has raised $10 million from Shell Technology Ventures in a deal brokered by Cascadia Capital. An investment arm owned by Cargill had made an investment in the company earlier.

The company already operates a gas-to-LNG facility in Orange County as well as one in southern Utah. It has broken ground on a methane-to-LNG facility in Poland.

Trash is increasingly big business. The companies in the sector essentially all have the same goal: take organic waste products like manure and old banana peels and convert them into a hydrocarbon like ethanol (BlueFire, Coskata), methane (Microgy) or the condensed form of methane called LNG. Revenue comes from selling fuel of course, but companies can also derive revenue by selling carbon credits, depending on local laws, and through landfill abatement.

Producing methane or other fuels from trash also reduces transportation costs. The gas produced can be consumed at industrial sites near the conversion factories.

The trick is the process. Converting this material in a cost-effective, energy-efficient manner is not easy and the techniques vary. Ze-Gen, one of the leaders in the space, converts trash into synthetic gases by dipping it in molten iron. Ze-Gen has raised about $28 million to date.

Prometheus has seen trouble before. In 2008, the London Stock Exchange delisted the company and its assets were bought by Heracles Energy. Will it work? We shall see.  

Shell is one of the largest producers of LNG in the world. The company also produces a form of synthetic petroleum from methane.

Magma Energy, meanwhile, plans to close an offering of 66.7 million shares for $1.50 Canadian tomorrow. The company specializes in geothermal energy, one of those energy sources everyone seems to agree is under-utilized.  It has one operating power plant in Nevada and 18 others in advanced or early stage exploration. Founded in 2008, Magma has largely grown by acquisitions.

IPOs in greentech have been exceedingly rare and have become even more scarce with the economic downturn.