Cleantech & Resource Efficiency Fundings & Deals Roundup

Y Combinator and Mithril Capital invest $1.5M in Helion Energy, furthering investment in nuclear energy tech, 8/15

Fusion power company Helion Energy, based in Redmond, Wash., raised the Series A round to help commercialize a fusion reactor for small power plants. While the plasma physics at the heart of the reactor are not new, Helion scientists believe the design concept they created at University of Washington spinoff MSNW can be developed to produce as much energy as it consumes in the next three years.

Nuclear energy tech seems to be gaining favor among venture capital investors these days. On August 4, Peter Thiel’s newly formed FF Science fund invested $2 million in Transatomic Power, a startup developing a new type of nuclear reactor that safely turns nuclear waste into clean energy.

And, at an event in late 2013, LUX Capital’s Zack Schildhorn said that the firm’s “most exciting” recent investment was in Kurion, which focuses on cleaning up nuclear waste (LUX recently raised a $245 million fund for energy science startups.)  Kurion won a contract with Japan’s TEPCO to clean up waste after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, and the startup generated $100 million in revenue one year after receiving funding, said Schildhorn. Kurion also received an investment from Firelake Capital and private investor Arthur Samberg.

However, nuclear power is not growing very fast in key countries where is has the most potential and support, such as China and India, and is losing ground to big gains made in utility scale wind generation, according to Forbes. And France, Germany, and Canada are actively reducing their nuclear capacity.

Finland-based Enevo raises $8 million for waste collection system, 8/28

The round includes Earlybird, Lifeline Ventures, Finnish Industry Investment, Draper Associates and Risto Siilasmaa. Enevo optimizes waste collection by analyzing fill-level and operations data from its network of small wireless sensors in waste containers and recycling sites. The funding will be used to further develop its service offering and expand its presence in both existing markets in North America and Europe as well as in new markets in the Middle East and Asia. Read more.

Otter Capital invests $6M in Series B funding in agriculture startup Green & Grow, 8/26

Green & Grow Inc. (GGI) has developed a range of products using its Agriplier technology. They are based on non-living, non-toxic, microbe-derived byproducts that contain specific metabolites and stimulants that significantly improve many crops. Otter Capital’s investment will go toward commercializing GGI’s products. Read more.

Toronto-based Smart Energy Instruments raises $5M round led by 3M, 8/25

3M plans to incorporate Smart Energy Instruments’ chips into future power-grid-automation products. Venturelink Funds, ArcTern Ventures and Ontario Capital Growth Corp. also participated in the round. Read more.

ZBB’s China joint venture company receives $3.24M for energy storage, Asia becoming a lithium ion battery hub, 8/18

ZBB Energy Corporation, developer of energy storage and control platforms serving utilities and behind the meter commercial and industrial buildings, announced that its China Joint Venture Company, Meineng Energy, has received a cash investment of $3.24M from Wuhu Fuhai-Haoyan Venture Investment, L.P., a branch of Shenzhen Oriental Fortune Capital Co., Ltd., for a post-closing equity position of 8 percent.

According to a recent report from the Technical University of Munich, Asia is dominating global battery development and innovation. The region’s companies apply for more patents than anywhere else, with lithium ion-related applications making up the majority.

Impact Investing

India-based solar energy provider raises Series A from Ennovent Circle Investors, 8/21

Boond Engineering & Development provides clean energy access to the remote, rural parts of India. Along with servicing solar power centers, Boond also designs solar light systems, solar light bulbs, biomass gas stoves, solar AC inverter systems and solar water pumps. This investment was made by Opes Impact Fund, Rianta Capital and Sumantra Roy, all members of the Ennovent Circle, a group of investors, mentors and entrepreneurs that collaborates to accelerate innovations for low-income markets since its launch in 2012. This is the seventh deal facilitated by the Ennovent Circle in Boond.  Read more.


Fishermen’s Energy receives $47M DOE Grant for NJ-based offshore wind project, 8/21 

The funding will support the construction of demonstration five turbine offshore wind farm, potentially the first in the United States, by 2016, located 2.8 miles off the coast of Atlantic City, New Jersey. Read More.

DOE Invests $67M for Advanced Nuclear Technology, 8/20

The investment builds on President Obama’s Climate Action Plan and the Administration’s efforts to expand clean energy innovation. The funds will go toward 83 projects for advancing nuclear energy technologies and research for reactor and infrastructure improvements. Read more.


Lockheed Martin acquires Sun Catalytix for flow battery technology, 8/26

According to a report in Forbes, the defense contractor has purchased Sun Catalytix for its patent and new business plan to produce flow batteries for grid-scale and commercial-scale storage. Sun Catalytix grew out of MIT and initially focused on converting water into hydrogen fuel with sunlight and chemical catalysts.

Finavera acquires Solar Alliance of America for $6M, 8/25

Finavera Wind Energy Inc., a Vancouver-based renewable energy developer, has agreed to purchase Solar Alliance of America Inc. for $6 million. The company will pay $4 million in cash and $2 million in stock for closely held Solar Alliance, a company that markets and installs residential solar systems in the San Diego and Orange County area, as Finavera shifts its focus to solar systems. Read more.

Advanced Energy Capital Acquires Stake in Greenbacker Group, 8/25

Specialty finance firm Advanced Energy Capital will originate and help underwrite energy efficiency and energy storage finance transactions for its investors and it is anticipated that Greenbacker Renewable Energy Company, a subsidiary of Greenbacker Group, will participate in those deals as the firm continues a $1.5 billion fundraising effort. Read more.

Project Financing

U.S.-Based ACO Investment Group invests in Myanmar (Burma) solar projects, 8/28

ACO Investment Group, a U.S.-based private equity fund focusing on Asian emerging markets, will develop two solar-energy plants in Myanmar totaling 150-megawatt solar facilities and valued at $480 million, according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. The plants are expected to account for 10 percent to 12 percent of Myanmar’s power generation when completed in 2016. Read more.

Largest tidal project in the world secures $82M for first phase of construction, despite reduced estimates for wave power deployment, 8/21

Atlantis Resources has raised $82 million in financing for the initial stage of the MeyGen Project, a 389MW tidal array project in Scotland. The Crown Estate committed nearly $17 million as part of the financing group, which also includes Atlantis, the Department of Energy & Climate Change, Scottish Enterprise via the Renewable Energy Investment Fund (REIF), and Highlands and Islands Enterprise. Read more.

According to recent research by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, tidal stream and wave power technologies are taking longer than hoped to develop. Analysts have revised down their estimates for deployment by 11 percent and 72 percent, respectively. By 2020, Bloomberg predicts that tidal stream will grow to 148 MW and wave power will grow to 21 MW, which are small amounts compared to wind and solar.

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