The Ecomagination challenge paid off for FMC-Tech.

The Irish company, which provides real-time monitoring of power lines, will get bought by General Electric. FMC-Tech was one of the 12 winners of the Ecomagination challenge in 2010. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

It marks yet another acquisition in the grid world. ABB and Schneider Electric have snapped up a number of companies since the end of 2010. GE, meanwhile, bought Lineage Power Holdings, which makes power equipment, earlier this year. Voltage regulation will be one of the prime issues in grid management this year, according to, among others, Elster Solutions CEO Mark Munday.

Siemens, the fourth member of the Four Horsemen of the Smart Grid, has been noticeably quiet when it comes to acquisitions lately.


--Google claimed to (but didn't) have a first today when it announced it would open a datacenter cooled by seawater in Finland. Google bought a paper mill in 2009 and retrofitted it to become a datacenter.

Actually, another group built a datacenter in downtown Helsinki cooled by seawater last year. The center, built by BaseN and Academica Oy, is located in a cave beneath Uspenski Cathedral that served as a bomb shelter during World War II. The entrance is a doorway carved into the rock base of the cathedral. Pipes dip 75 meters into the sea and bring up chilly water to cool the server racks. A megawatt of waste heat from the server room gets injected into the city's district heating system.

--More not-firsts: Cannacord Genuity trumpeted that it has learned that GE has selected Cree to supply GE with LEDs for its 60-watt equivalent LED bulbs. "GE is a big win for Cree," the investment bank stated.

Last year, General Electric chose Cree to supply LEDs for its LED bulbs. Last year, GE's bulb produced as much light as a 40-watt bulb. Putting in more LEDs and adding a few additional tweaks makes it a 60-watt equivalent. GE thus is extending the contract.

--Quantum Dot has raised $22 million. The company wants to make full-color LEDs with quantum dots. (Futuristic. Don't ask.) A few companies have tinkered with quantum dots over the past several years because of the potential for efficiency and shrinking the size of light sources. It's a promising technology.

--Finally, Harvest Power, which turns organic waste into fertilizer and renewable energy, expanded its Series B by $6 million. The second round now comes to $51.7 million. SAM Equity, a branch of Rabobank, is an investor. Recycling will be one of the big stories this year and beyond. We're up to our necks in trash, raw materials and commodities are rising in price and policies are encouraging reuse and recycling. California, for instance, imposed a tax for carpet recycling this year that consumers pay when they get new carpet.

Harvest produces power and natural gas from organic waste and then converts the solids left over into soil supplements.

Speaking of trash, a Who's Who of E-waste recyclers will speak in Palo Alto on the opportunities in the field on June 1 in Palo Alto. It's big business. John Shegerian, CEO of Electronic Recyclers, says his company takes in 15 million pounds of electronic waste a month. The company has seven centers in the U.S. and will soon expand overseas. Creighton Bildstein of Associated Tele-Networking tells me his company accepts the equivalent of 35 semi-trucks' worth of old telco equipment a month. Associated then shares the proceeds from selling the raw materials with the original owners.

--Final note: here's a video with more on the seawater-cooled datacenter from BaseN.