Monday, November 13, 2006

Mascoma, Luz II, Norsun, NIL, and other news

  • Mascoma, which is developing cellulosic ethanol production technology, is expected to announce a $30mm round of financing on Monday, led by General Catalyst Partners, and including Khosla Ventures and Flagship Ventures (we've previously mentioned a smaller amount than the $9mm it's now known these two firms invested earlier this year), Kleiner Perkins and others. The funding is going to go toward a pilot-scale plant, and Samir Kaul mentions that he is expecting commercialization in 2008.
  • Not sure how we forgot to mention this one, but hopefully better late than never: John Woolard of VantagePoint Venture Partners has joined centralized solar plant startup Luz II (no website yet) as CEO, and the firm has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from VPVP. The firm apparently already has a 500 MW power purchase agreement in place with PG&E, and is aiming for <10 cents per kwh at scale.
  • Norsk Hydro has invested $23mm in Norsun, a Norwegian producer of monocrystalline silicon wafers. The company may also expand into other related businesses. Pre-money valuation was at least $23mm on the investment.
  • Two cleantech-related funds getting started up: In Europe, Capricorn Cleantech Fund of Belgium has done a first close of 26mm euros, and is looking for the fund to be 75-100mm euros when fully closed. Initial LPs include PMV, Electrabel, and MRBB. And in Texas, TXU is going to devote $200mm to a corporate venture group that will look to invest in alternative energy technologies. (Both of these were mentioned by PE Week Wire last week)
Other articles worth checking out from the past week: Is this really how Kleiner got into "greentech"?... Here's an interesting article on how China's environmental issues will drive cleantech venture capital... The Acumen Fund has an interesting venture-philanthropy model... Yet more interesting info on lithium ion battery techs... $100mm going into fuel cell projects via the DOE... In terms of tracking underlying energy market trends, this is a fascinating article... Finally, with all the interest in algae-derived biodiesel, these girls should be prepared for a deluge of VC business cards!


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