Martin Luther King Jr. Day didn't quell the flow of funding news Monday as Abu Dhabi leaders announced at the World Future Energy Summit that the city would invest $15 billion in greentech.

The investment is part of what the United Arab Emirates capital called "the most ambitious sustainability program ever launched by a government." It will be managed through the Masdar Initiative, a company focused on future energy sources, which plans to expand the portfolio through joint ventures and other investment partners.

The money is slated for projects insolar wind and hydrogen power, carbon reduction and management, sustainable development, education, manufacturing and research and development, according to the Masdar Initiative.

The initiative also unveiled a model of Masdar City on Monday, a green utopian zone in the heart if Abu Dhabi that it hopes to begin building in February. The 6-square-kilometer city is intended to be the first zero-pollution, zero-waste city, with no cars allowed.

The 47,500-resident city will include an electric light-rail system, a solar-power plant and a desalination plant, with wastewater being used to grow plants for biofuels, as well as the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology. People are scheduled to begin moving there in 2009, although the city won't be complete until 2018.

Other governments also made smaller commitments in the last week.

The United States is looking to launch a "multibillion-dollar" fund to help China and other developing countries finance pollution-cutting technologies, according to Reuters. The U.S. Department of Energy also said it would invest up to $30 million in plug-in hybrids and the state of Ohio announced it would grant $19.8 million to retrofit diesel vehicles with emission-reduction technology.

Ireland also announced more than €26 million in funding for wave energy, as well as a fixed price, or feed-in tariff, of €220 per megawatt-hour of wave energy generated.

Here are some of the nongovernmental deals announced in the past week:

PRIVATE: Solar deals

  • NanoGram, a company that has developed a nanomaterial-manufacturing process for solar-power equipment, said Tuesday it raised $32 million in a third round of financing from ATA Ventures, Nth Power, Rockport Capital Partners, SBV Venture Partners and Masdar Clean Tech Fund, among others (see NanoGram Takes Lasers to Solar).
  • Google.org said Thursday it invested $10 million in eSolar, a solar-thermal company (see Google Heats Up eSolar with $10M).

 

PRIVATE: Transportation deals

  • Transonic Combustion, which develops fuel-efficient gasoline engines, said Thursday that it raised an undisclosed additional amount of funding from Khosla Ventures, making the venture firm -- led by Sun Microsystems co-founder Vinod Khosla -- Transonic's largest preferred shareholder. The deal came a few days after Khosla Ventures invested in EcoMotors, a startup developing fuel-efficient diesel engines (see last week's funding roundup).
  • Fisker Automotive, a green sports-car startup, said Tuesday it raised an undisclosed amount of Series-B funding from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (see Automakers Vie for Green Cred). The company previously raised $5.5 million in its Series-A round and plans to begin producing its first cars, plug-in hybrids with solar panels, next year (see Concept Cars Reveal Multiple Green Paths).
  • Carbon Motors Corp., which is developing a biodiesel police car, said Thursday it had raised an undisclosed amount of funding from ethanol firm Xethanol.

 

PRIVATE: Other deals

  • Nanoptek, a company with a photocatalyst it claims produces hydrogen from water using sunlight, said Wednesday it had raised $4.7 million in a Series-A round of funding. The Quercus Trust led the round, and Massachusetts Technology Collaborative participated.
  • The Knight & Carver Wind Group, a wind-turbine blade inspection, repair and maintenance services company, last week said it had raised $12 million from the Global Environment Fund.
  • Ambient, which is developing "smart-grid" technologies that use power lines to transmit data, raised $2.5 million from Vicis Capital. The investment brings Vicis' stake in Ambient to $12.5 million.

 

PRIVATE: Venture Fund Raisings

  • Israel Cleantech Ventures Funds invested $2 million in fuel-cell company CellEra and $1 million in Citrine Renewable Energy, which converts biogas from landfills and wastewater treatment plants into natural gas, according to the Globes.
  • VantagePoint Venture Partners is raising a $400 million cleantech fund, according to Greentech Media's Cleantech Investing. The company has backed fuel-cell startup Angstrom Power, solar firms BrightSource Energy and Miasolé, cellulosic-ethanol company Mascoma, electric-car company Tesla Motors, battery-leasing startup Project Better Place and waste-to-energy firm Ze-gen.
  • Velocity Venture Capital last week announced it had closed $15 million for its second fund. The company invests in a variety of technologies, including greentech, and has backed wind-turbine manufacturer Marquiss Wind Power. Velocity said it already is preparing a third fund, which it expects to reach $60 million.
  • Morgan Stanley said Tuesday it was investing in NGEN Partners, a greentech venture-capital firm that has invested in solar companies SolFocus and Konarka Technologies, as well as vehicle startup Venture Vehicles (see Morgan Stanley Takes a Green Stake in Venture Capital). Morgan Stanley didn't disclose the amount, other than to say it amounted to a minority stake.

 

PUBLIC

  • British utility Centrica (also known as British Gas) invested £20 million in Ceres Power, a fuel-cell company listed on the London AIM, according to Clean Ventures. The investment gives the utility a 10-percent stake in Ceres.
  • Merrill Lynch on Thursday announced an agreement to finance the construction of up to 155 megawatts of geothermal plants being developed by Raser Technologies, including its first plant.
  • Shanghai-based solar-cell manufacturer Solar EnerTech Corp., a bulletin-board-traded company, last week announced it raised $21.4 million in a private placement offering for working capital and to partly finance the installation of a new production line.
  • Hong Kong-based solar wafer-maker Solargiga Energy Holdings has lowered the price range for its IPO due to poor market conditions, according to Reuters. The company now hopes to raise up to $264 million, down from a previous range of up to $292 million, Reuters says.
  • Energy-storage company Axion Power International said Tuesday it was raising $18 million from the Quercus Trust over the next six months.