Thursday, February 08, 2007

Bright Source, Zolo, and others

  • Bright Source Energy, a solar concentrator startup aimed at centralized (ie: for wholesale power, not rooftops) generation, using high temp solar thermal, raised "under $50mm" led by DFJ and the JP Morgan Bay Area Equity Fund. Previous investor VantagePoint (where CEO John Woolard was an EIR prior to joining the company) also participated. Jonathan Shieber of VentureWire wrote a useful description of the company's processes that is worth checking out -- he points out that Bright Source's hybrid approach (which uses a gas-fired turbine in addition to solar concentration) allows for the production of energy on cloudy days as well. Shieber writes that the company already has a 500MW PPA with PG&E starting in 2010.
  • Zolo Technologies, which uses tunable diode laser spectroscopy to monitor combustion gases for efficiency optimization (ie: for boilers in power plants and other applications) raised a $12.5mm Series D. Siemens Venture Capital and El Dorado Investment Company co-led the round, which also was participated in by existing investors. The company had previously raised $51mm in funding, mostly in a previous telecom-related incarnation.
  • ECO2 Plastics, f/k/a ITEC Environmental Group, closed a $10mm convertible debenture round of financing (the company is publicly traded at ITEC.OB). Roaring Fork Capital and angels provided the financing. ECO2 Plastics is looking to apply their proprietary plastics recycling technology via the ownership and operation of recycling plants worldwide.
  • Hanger Networks, a developer of "in house" advertising (they print ads on the hangers your dry cleaners give you with your shirts), raised an $8mm Series A co-led by Kodak Venture Partners and Sigma Partners. Why is the company listed here? Because the hangers they use are 100% recycled content, and biodegradable, and apparently wire hangers add 200mm tons of steel to landfills every year, according to the CEO (tip of the hat to Jonathan Shieber again for that nugget).
Other news and notes: When consolidation inevitably begins in earnest in the solar market, the acquirers will have very deep pockets (and large existing production plants)... Here's an interesting back and forth (read the comments section) on the topic of state support for green startups... Very interesting words from Joel on the topic of the fickle green-ness of the American consumer (and Joel, I echo your Kermit reaction)... Jefferies sees no signs of slow-down in the alternative energy investment ramp-up (but such rosy banker statements have been made at the peaks of many past investment cycles)... The Cleantech Venture Network is expanding to China... Here's an interesting, but familiar, story about the re-purposing of previously fuel cell-targeted technology... Finally, Al Gore brings his message to Silicon Valley.


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