The Carbon Trust and the Qatar Investment Authority are launching a £250 million ($396 million) fund to invest in clean energy generation and services that will curb greenhouse gas emissions.

The Qatar-U.K. Clean Technology Investment Fund will start with a £150 million ($237.62 million) from the Qatar Investment. The Carbon Trust, created by the British government in 2001, will contribute £10 million and manage the fund through its CT Investment Partners. Carbon Trust and Qatar Investment will look for addition funding to reach the £250 million goal.

The fund will mostly put money in clean energy businesses that are primarily located in the United Kingdom, but it will fund companies in other parts of Europe and the Persian Gulf Region as well.

The memorandum of understanding signed by the Carbon Trust and Qatar Investment also calls for conducting a feasibility study on creating a "low carbon innovation centre" in Qatar that would enable the two countries to jointly develop and deploy low-carbon technologies.

The new fund reflects the growing interest by Arab countries in the Middle East to invest in green technologies. Qatar Investment, created by the Qatar government in 2005, has invested in cleantech in the past. It recently led the $65 million, Series C funding for Fisker Automotive, an electric carmaker in Irvine, Calif. (see Fisker Raises Fistfuls of Cash).

Other Middle Eastern countries such as Egypt, Abu Dhabi and Dubai also have set out to development and invest in clean energy, including solar and wind power, to feed their own increasing demand for power or profit from the growth in the global clean energy sector (see Is the Middle East the Next Renewable Energy Frontier?).

Masdar, a major cleantech initiative launched by the Abu Dhabi government in 2006, plans to sign a memorandum of understanding with the United Kingdom on clean tech development, the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said on Monday, during his visit to the United Arab Emirates.

Masdar has been an active investor in solar, wind and greentech businesses. Last month, it announced that it had made an undisclosed amount of investment to gain a 20 percent stake in a1-gigawatt offshore wind farm project in the United Kingdom called London Array (see Masdar Bets on Massive Offshore Wind Park).

In August, Masdar broke ground on its first thin-film solar panel factory, a $230 million project to make amorphous-silicon panels in Germany (see Masdar Breaks Ground on $230M Solar Factory). Masdar also plans to develop a 6-square-kilometer, car-free community called Masdar City within Abu Dhabi to showcase clean technology.

Here is a roundup of some other funding news:

PRIVATE:

Solar:

 

  • Trony Solar Holdings Co. raised $20 million from Intel Capital, the investment arm of the chip giant Intel. Trony, based in Shenzhen, China, is one of the largest solar and wind manufacturers in China, the Associated Press reported. The company sells both conventional silicon solar panels and thin-film panels made with amorphous silicon.

 

Transportation:

 

  • NxtGen Emissions Controls raised $15.4 million to commercialize technology to reduce emissions from existing and new diesel engines. The Vancouver, Canada-based company also is developing emissions-reduction and combustion systems. Altira Group led the second-round funding, which also came from ITOCHU Corp., Yaletown Venture Partners, GrowthWorks Capital and an undisclosed investment service for a Japanese car company.
  • Avantium raised €18 million ($22.9 million) to commercialize its catalytic process for making biofuels and other chemical products. The Amsterdam-based company also is developing new crystal forms of existing drugs to make them more effective or to prolong their effects. Aescap Ventures led the funding, which also came from Capricorn Cleantech Fund, ING Corporate Investments and Navitas Capital.

 

Other:

 

  • Lakeside Energy, a Chicago-based energy investment firm, has agreed to provide up to $150 million for a company it has formed with Bend, Ore.-based InEnTec. The joint venture plans to build gasification plants to convert hazardous wastes into chemical products. The new company, called InEnTec Chemical, signed a 10-year contract to develop a plant for Dow Corning Corp. that will convert chlorinated organic materials into hydrogen chloride and synthesis gas.
  • El-Sewedy Cables, a cable company in Egypt, has created the Sewedy Wind Energy Group after buying a 30-percent stake in M. Torres Olvega, a Spanish wind manufacturer, for €40 million ($51.06 million). Sewedy Wind will sell wind-farm equipment, and plans to take advantage of the government's goal to generate 20 percent of the electricity from renewable sources by 2020.
  • Earth Class Mail, which digitizes paper-based mail for delivery, raised $5.1 million as part of its second round of funding. The Seattle company is still raising the rest of the round, which it expects will total between $15 million and $30 million. Earth Class Mail plans to use some of the funding to expand its mail-processing capacity in cities such as San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles and Washington. It recently signed a licensing deal with the Swiss Post, Switzerland's national postal service. Customers will be able to view scanned images of regular mail online and decide whether to get the full content delivered over the Internet.
  • China-based NP Holdings, an electricity-storage company, received an undisclosed amount of funding from Intel Capital. The deal represents one of Intel Capital's first two greentech investments. The company set up a $500 million China fund in April.
  • ExRo Technologies Inc., which is developing generators for wind power and other forms of renewable energy, is seeking about $10 million in its first round of venture-capital funding, CEO John McDonald told Greentech Media. The Vancouver-based company claims its generator can pull more than 50 percent more electricity out of the same wind turbines.
  • Goldman Sachs Group bought an undisclosed stake in Blue Source, a greentech project developer based in Salt Lake City. Goldman Sachs plans to market greenhouse-gas emissions-reduction credits generated from Blue Source projects in wastewater treatment, energy efficiency, carbon capture andstorageand methane management from coal mining.

 

PUBLIC:

 

  • Trans-Indian Acquisition Corp. (AMEX: TIL) has agreed to buy at least 80 percent of Solar Semiconductor in a reverse merger deal worth $375 million, reported the Economic Times, an Indian newspaper. Solar Semiconductor, which was incorporated in the Cayman Islands with subsidiaries in India and the United States, has built a 75-megawatt solar panel factory in India and is building another that will add an additional 120 megawatts of capacity by the first quarter of 2009. The company posted $15.2 million in revenue for the fiscal year that ended on March 31, and expects revenue to grow to $140 million by the end of the fiscal year, which ends in March.
  • Clean Energy Fuels Corp. (NDSQ: CLNE), a natural-gas distributor, expects to raise $35 million from selling about 4.42 million units of stocks and warrants at $7.92 per unit, with each unit consisting of one share of its common stock, one warrant to purchase 0.75 shares of common stock and one warrant to purchase up to 0.257143 shares of common stock. The Seal Beach, Calif.-based company, co-founded by T. Boone Pickens, already has lined up investors for the sale and plans to use the money for general operations.
  • Atlantic Energy Solutions, which finances and develops energy projects, has raised $10 million from Trafalgar Capital, which will provide the funding over a two-year period. The Saratoga Springs, N.Y.-based Atlantic, which is traded over the counter under the symbol "AESO," plans to use the funding to develop wind, solar, geothermal and other projects for schools, hospitals and commercial customers.

 

FUNDS:

 

  • Keydata International, part of the U.K.-based Keydata Investment Services, plans to raise £150 million ($237.62 million) for a new fund that will invest in power plants in Europe that use wood waste for electricity generation. The Keydata Renewable Energy Fund will invest in small-scale power plants with 0.5-megawatt to 2-megawatt capacity in the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Sweden and Spain.
  • The Clean Energy Angel Fund has invested in three companies and closed a second round of funding, bringing it to a total of $9.3 million (see Clean Energy Angel Fund Makes First Investments). The fund, part of the California Clean Energy Fund, invested in HID Laboratories Inc., Allopartis Biotechnologies and an undisclosed solar technology company. HID, based in Menlo Park, Calif., is developing systems that can control and dim commercial lights to save energy use. San Francisco-based Allopartis is developing enzymes for cellulosic biofuel production.
  • New Leaf Capital plans to raise $400 million to $500 million for a fund to invest in solar, wind, energy efficiency and water technologies, New Energy Finance reported (via Clean Edge). The London-based investment firm hopes to wrap up the fund raising by the end of 2009.

 

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