Tuesday, August 14, 2007

AltaRock and other news

  • PE Week Wire reported on Monday that AltaRock Energy, a stealth-mode enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) developer out of the Seattle area, raised a Series A from Khosla, Kleiner and existing seed investor Aaron Mandell of GreatPoint. VentureWire today added in that an investment group affiliated with Dundee Securities provided funding as well, and VWire discussed several other geothermal-related startups that have received capital infusions lately, including Western GeoPower and Vulcan Power. Experts agree there are a lot of untapped geothermal resources out there. But geothermal startups are currently most often project-specific efforts using existing tech instead of new tech development groups, so it's always a bit tricky to see how VCs best get involved in the sector. With a clear market opportunity and hundreds of existing patents and applications covering geothermal technologies, perhaps that will change over time, but slow adoption rates and high capital intensity will continue to provide a bit of a damper as well... Here are some recent presentations on EGS out of MIT (including one by AltaRock founder Susan Petty).

Other news and notes: An intriguing market-based policy proposal to promote faster adoption of new energy techs (hat tip to Eric "Enrico" Engstrom for the heads up on this one)... More follow-up on the Massachusetts cleantech cluster... Joel has an interesting column on the information aspects of the clean water challenge -- and meanwhile the bottled water debate heats up... More developments in biodiesel... An interesting interview with Paul Cook, founder of Raychem... Finally, this cleantech innovation stuff isn't as easy as it might look -- and once again we are reminded that VCs will play only a very small role in the funding of new innovations and market solutions.


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