Posts Tagged ‘Energy’
Friday, July 2nd, 2010
CT&T Electric cars
SPARTANBURG, SC – Seoul, Korea-based CT&T Ltd., and Spartanburg’s 2AM Group are teaming to assemble low-speed electric cars in Duncan, SC, creting 400 jobs.
The new operation will produce up to 10,000 cars slightly larger than golf carts that will sell for about $13,000.
Lead-acid battery models can trave 44 miles between charges.
The cars are legally limited to 25 mph and can only be operated on up to two miles on secondary roads in SC.
The company’s have expansion plans and hope states will change limits on where the cars can be used.
Friday, July 2nd, 2010
Cleantech continues to be a hot investment area, with venture investments matching the last 2010 quarter at $2.04 billion and up 43 percent over a year ago in Q2 2010, with a resurgence in solar leading the parade, according to The Cleantech Group.
The number of deals recorded in 2Q10 was down from a record high of 192 in 1Q10, but still represents a strong quarter by historic standards.
“In spite of the persistence of wider concerns about the strength and sustainability of the global recovery, the strong flow of investment dollars to cleantech growth companies has continued in 2Q10, with cleantech venture investment in the first half of 2010 edging slightly ahead of the record total recorded during the first half of 2008 [$4.04 billion versus $4.02 billion],” said Richard Youngman, head of global research at the Cleantech Group.
“Key to this has been the resurgence of solar, and a high volume of follow-on rounds, including many blockbuster deals, which are, in part, a response to the lackluster and unpredictable state of the cleantech IPO market. Goldwind and Solyndra’s recent IPO withdrawals have been the norm of late, and Tesla’s trend-bucking triumph the exception.”
Corporate activity around cleantech innovation has continued to play an important role in maintaining the levels of investment activity. Corporations are becoming key participants in many of the largest venture and growth capital investment rounds.
“The significant strengthening of corporate and utility investment into the cleantech sector, relative to 2009, is very encouraging, given the key role they will play in enabling broader adoption of clean technologies at scale,” said Scott Smith, partner, Deloitte & Touche and Deloitte’s clean tech leader in the United States.
“Major U.S. utilities are increasing direct investments in wind and solar due to improving cost scenarios, favorable tax credits and incentives, and evolving pressure to meet Renewable Portfolio Standards. Meanwhile, the largest global companies are seeing the business case for operational cleantech integration, leading to record corporate investment. ”
The leading sector in the quarter by amount invested was solar ($811 million), followed by biofuels ($302 million) and smart grid ($256 million). Energy efficiency was the most popular sector measured by number of deals, with 31 funding rounds, ahead of solar (26 deals) and biofuels (13 deals).
Thursday, July 1st, 2010
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL – Helpful Technologies Inc., a company that acquires intellectual property and develops emerging technology products, has raised $11.02 million through the sale of convertible securities, according to a regulatory filing.
The company, founded in 2008, received $9.38 million in equity via a settlement agreement that regulated the issue of common shares in lieu of cash payable for transfer of IP to Helpful Technologies.
In April, the company closed a $20.84 million IP deal with its subsidiary, Fuecotech Inc. of Littleton, NC and Rochester, NY. Fuecotech developed a fuel efficiency product.
Helpful says it works to discover, develop and market emerging technology products, including for the reduction of fuel consumption and reduction of greenhouse gases emissions.
Its end markets include transportation, engine manufacturing, parts manufacturing, oil and gas companies, and applicable internet and military applications.
The company disclosed the current financing in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which cites only one principal, CEO Sergey Gurin.
Contact Tech Journal South Editor and writer Allan Maurer: Allan at TechJournalSouth dot com.
Friday, June 25th, 2010
MORRISVILLE, NC – A mechanical engineering company that has designed cell phones for Sony-Ericsson, hand-held scanners for Motorola and laptop components for Dell, has won the only grant from the Department of Energy’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to a North Carolina company. Porticos Inc. won a $1.7 million grant to develop technology for a new clothes dryer that could save 50 percent or more energy over current machines.
Gregory Patterson, president at Porticos tells us that the company, founded in 2003, is developing a totally different way of drying clothes. Existing clothes dryers suck air out of a home, heat it, and run it through the turning clothes to evaporate the moisture.
By lowering the pressure inside the dryer to near vacuum, the Porticos technology dries clothes at a much lower temperature. “Then the amount of temperature needed to transform the water from liquid to vapor is much less,” Patterson explains.
Patterson says the 11-person company expects to hire two to four new employees to help cover other work as staff works on the dryer technology.
The company also recently developed a cooling vest (www.porticool.com) that HAZMAT responders, firefighters and other people who have to work wearing a great deal of protective clothing or in high heat situations can don under their existing turnout gear to help stay cooler.
– By Allan Maurer
Friday, June 4th, 2010
JUNO BEACH, FL – Peace Garden Wind Funding, an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources, has entered into a $78 million variable rate term loan agreement with a maturity of approximately five years.
Peace Garden Wind consists of approximately 170 megawatts of wind energy projects in North Dakota.
NextEra Energy Resources intends to use the proceeds from the financing to reimburse, in part, capital contributions made to develop and build the wind facilities.
Last month, Peace Garden Wind Funding, raised approximately $190 million in capital through a differential partnership structure.
NextEra Energy Resources is a clean energy leader and one of the largest competitive energy suppliers in North America. A subsidiary of Juno Beach, FL-based NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE:FPL), NextEra Energy Resources is the largest generator in North America of renewable energy from the wind and sun.
Thursday, May 27th, 2010
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – Encell Technology Inc., a company developing advanced energy storage systems, has raised a $5.5 million equity financing, according to a regulatory filing.
Founded in Atlanta in 2006, the company moved its headquarters to Charlottesville, VA, recently. It also has R&D and manufacturing facilities in Alachua, FL.
Encell has developed and manufactures a family of green, safe and economical rechargeable industrial batteries. One of the main applications for Encell’s batteries is to provide energy storage and power back-up for the base transceiver stations of mobile network operators.
It also develops and manufactures green rechargeable batteries for the automotive sector, green building industry, the computer industry and other vertical markets.
Encell’s near term focus is on the mobile communications industry and secondarily on the fixed line telecommunications and data storage industries. To address these markets, it designed and patented a power storage solution, the Sentinel Smart Power System.
The Sentinel is based on Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) chemistry. The Sentinel™ improves operating efficiency and reduces the cost of maintaining back-up power installations.
The company recently is working with the University of Virginia to develop novel battery chemistries and designs.
Encell disclosed the funding in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Monday, May 17th, 2010
DUBLIN, GA – German firm Mage Solar plans to locate its U.S. headquarters and first manufacturing facility in Dublin, GA. The firm says it will create 350 jobs over five years and invest $30 million in the facilities.
The company garnered almost $7 million in government incentives to spur the move.
The facility will include a training center and solar module manufacturing plant.
The company says Dublin’s strategic location, about half ways between one of the most well-connected airports in the world and the ever expanding Port of Savannah provides the solar company a logistic advantage.
The company also cited Georgia’s workforce training program Quick Start as well as its overall business-oriented climate as making Georgia an attractive state for locating corporate headquarters and manufacturing facilities. In addition, Georgia is also home to the Center of Excellence for Photovoltaics Research and Education at Georgia Tech in Atlanta. Known for its groundbreaking research in clean, renewable energy sources, it is only one out of two centers of its kind nationwide.
The company expects to start production by the end of the year.
Friday, May 14th, 2010
CHARLOTTE, NC – Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) has finalized an agreement with the Department of Energy for $204 million in stimulus funds to support smart grid projects in the company’s five-state service territory.
The DOE funds will support two projects: $200 million — the maximum allowed per project under the DOE Smart Grid Investment Grant Program — will assist in modernizing Duke Energy’s power distribution system; $4 million will support the installation of digital equipment on the transmission system in the Carolinas.
Duke Energy expects to save or create approximately 1,000 jobs as it modernizes its grid system in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and the Carolinas.
It plans to spend $1 billion over the next five years to deploy smart grid technology in its service territory. Deployment includes digital and automated technology such as smart meters, distribution automation equipment, and communications infrastructure.
Duke’s smartgrid site has more information on the projects.
Wednesday, May 12th, 2010
NORCROSS, GA – Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu has called Georgia-based Suniva, which makes advanced solar cells, “An American Success Story,” on the White House blog.
The entry followed Chu’s visit to the Georgia Institute of Technology, where Suniva’s technology was developed.
Suniva evolved from the Georgia Tech University Center of Excellence in Photovoltaics (UCEP) and the research of its founding director, Dr. Ajeet Rohatgi, Suniva’s founder and CTO.
Chu wrote in his blog post that “This center and this company are powerful examples of how clean energy technology can drive job creation in the U.S. and increase our competitiveness.”
Suniva has exemplified the economic growth ideals put forth by the Obama administration by exporting production while creating U.S. jobs. Last year, Suniva exported more than 90 percent of its product to Asia and Europe.
“The U.S. needs to jump back into the clean energy race and play to win. That is the work we have started with investments like the Recovery Act and companies like Suniva,” continued Secretary Chu in his blog post. “Suniva has created more than 150 clean energy jobs manufacturing high-efficiency silicon solar cells and modules, using technology developed at UCEP.
Suniva, which makes silicon solar cells and modules of higher efficiency than others, ranked #2 in The Wall Street Journal’s Top 10 Venture-Backed Clean Technology Companies in 2010.
The company has also been one of TechJournal South’s Tech 50, and was a presenting company at the first Southeast Venture Conference in 2007.
For the full post on Suniva see: Success Story
Previously on Techjournal South:
Suniva has sunny outlook on solar cells
Suniva beams in $75M round
Suniva negotiating for $141M DOE loan
Wednesday, May 5th, 2010
ATLANTA – Swiss firm ABB, a global power and automation technology group, has agreed to acquire Ventyx for more than $1 billion from Vista Equity Partners.
Ventyx is a leading software provider to global energy, utility, communications, and other asset-intensive businesses.
It products include asset management, mobile workforce management, energy trading and risk management, energy operations and energy analytics.
The company also provides software solutions for planning and forecasting electricity needs.
ABB will combine its related network management business within the Power Systems division, with Ventyx to form a single unit for energy management software solutions.
Ventyx has a large installed base in the US market and Europe and operates in more than 40 countries. Its customers include leading power utilities in the United States and Europe as well as industrial businesses.
The company employs 900 people and reported 2009 revenues of about $250 million
Friday, April 30th, 2010
ORLANDO, FL - Planar Energy, the developer of large-format, solid-state, ceramic-like batteries at half the cost and triple the performance of lithium-ion batteries, today received a $4 million award from the U.S. Department of Energy.
The grant is part of the DOE’s Advanced Research Project Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) initiative to accelerate transformational energy research projects.
“With our breakthrough technology, which couples a fundamental electrolyte materials innovation with our proprietary low-cost, chemical deposition platform and manufacturing process, Planar Energy is creating scalable, environmentally friendly and cost-effective technology that will enable the U.S. transportation industry to reduce reliance on fossil fuels, help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and reestablish U.S. leadership in energy storage,” said President and CEO Scott Faris.
He added that the DOE award will enable Planar Energy to accelerate the development and commercialization of all solid-state lithium batteries, which will encourage the adoption of plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicles.
Planar Energy was established in Orlando, Fla., in 2007. It was spun out of the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colo., by Princeton, N.J.-based Battelle Ventures and its Knoxville, Tenn.-based affiliate fund, Innovation Valley Partners.
Friday, April 30th, 2010
A Catch the Wind sensor
MANASSAS, VA – Catch the Wind, a Manassas, VA-based company listed on the Toronto Venture Exchange (TSX-V:CTW.S), has raised $4.9 million in private placements, according to a regulatory filing.
Founded in 2008, the company develops and makes laser wind sensor systems for the wind power industry.
The company had a net loss of $4.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2009, up from $$1.5 million in same period the year before.
It disclose the financing in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Tuesday, April 27th, 2010
By Allan Maurer
Thomas Noonan, JouleX CEO
Tom Noonan, who sold Atlanta-based Internet Security Systems to IBM for $1.3 billion in 2006, has played a lot of roles in the Atlanta tech community. Now he’s back in the saddle as CEO of JouleX, an IT energy management company he says “Pulled me off the sidelines.”
As a founder of ISS, Noonan helped create the city’s reputation as a digital security hub.
As an investor, both personally and through the Atlanta-based venture firm, Tech Operators, Noonan has put money in 24 early stage Atlanta companies.
As a mentor, he has played advisory roles with “Most of the venture community.”
The single biggest opportunity
But JouleX, he says, pulled him off the sidelines and back into the fray because it has a chance at growing as large as ISS, which created hundreds of jobs and hundreds of millions in revenue.
“Energy conservation could be the single biggest opportunity” out there, Noonan tells us.
With the global cost of energy estimated at $7 trillion a year, concern over the carbon we’re pumping into the environment, and greater environmental awareness, “We’re in the middle of a perfect storm with JouleX,” Noonan says.
One platform to manage all the devices
JouleX is a software platform that allows a company to manage all of its IT devices—not just PCs, but also printers, routers, switches, VoIP phones, even a building management system—from its network.
That’s the company’s distinct advantage over energy management agents that have to be installed directly onto equipment.
Tim McCormick, JouleX vice president of sales and marketing and also a former founder of ISS notes, “When you’re trying to manage 100,000 of machines, the last thing a CIO wants to do is install something on every machine in the Enterprise.”
3 billion connected IT devices
Even if a company does install agents on its PCs, they represent only 7 percent of their total IT energy expenditure, Noonan points out. “That’s where JouleX is different,” he says. “We’re going after the other 93 percent as well.”
“There are over three billion interconnected IT devices today and that’s expected to grow 40 percent over the next three years,” Noonan adds. “We’re talking about a scale problem that’s extraordinary.”
The JouleX technology allows managers to set up rules that turn off or power down equipment when not being used. “Think about most office environments,” says Noonan. “Most offices are used productively 40 to 50 hours in a 168 hour week.”
The JouleX platform has some additional interesting features. For instance, it can be set up to recognize an employees badge, so that when he “badges in” it turns on his PC, printer, monitor and lights, and when he leaves, shuts them down.
But in most companies, the IT infrastructure continues to run even in the off hours, consuming power. “PCs consume healthy doses of power even if they’re sleeping,” he adds.
Short time to value
The JouleX technology can put an end to that so efficiently that the company says “time to value” for clients is quick. “Our technology drives a 3 to 1 ratio of savings to cost,” says Noonan. “It gives them payback within a fiscal year—within the first four or five months.”
The company has 12 customers already, including Atlanta-based Interface Inc. (Nasdaq:IFSIA), a world leader in designing, making and selling environmentally-responsible modular carpets. “They’re one of the greenest companies on the face of the planet,” Noonan says.
Another selling point for the JouleX technology is its short implementation time. “We went to Interface (in LaGrange, GA) at 8:30 a.m. and left at 11:30 a.m. with all their devices integrated on the network, so it took 3 hours to integrate the whole location,” says McCormick.
“The solution was very quick and easy to deploy,” said Jeff Roman, vice president, Information Services, Interface, Inc. “Within 24 hours, we were not only monitoring the energy consumption of all of our networked devices, but we were also managing them—by powering them down on off-hours—to decrease our energy consumption. By using JEM, we were able to reduce our energy usage and realize true cost savings within the first month of implementation.”
Look for more from our interview with Tom Noonan on the Atlanta venture scene and JouleX in an upcoming TechView Atlanta story.
Monday, April 19th, 2010
CHARLESTON, SC – GreenWizard Inc., a company selling software that lets users analyze and select green building materials, has planted $1.15 million from a syndicate of venture capital funds and angel investors, led by California-based Zygote Ventures. Zygote also led an investment round in the company in 2009.
GreenWizard’s will use the funds to build out and market its interactive, searchable database system of green products for LEED and green commercial construction. The company says its Web-based tools help architects, engineers, and contractors to build greener structures for less money in less time.
“GreenWizard offers an entirely unique, cross-search and compare database for a construction market that is very eager for tools to navigate through LEED and other green-product choices,” said Zygote Ventures’ Jerry Fiddler.
Friday, April 16th, 2010
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Wake Forest University has received the first patent for a new solar cell technology that can double the energy production of today’s flat cells at a fraction of the cost. The University has licensed the technology to Winston-Salem based FiberCell Inc.
“It comes at a pretty high price to be green,” said David Carroll, Ph.D., the director of Wake Forest’s Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials, where the fiber cell was developed. “This device can make a huge difference.”
The university received the patent for fiber-based photovoltaic, or solar, cells from the European Patent Office; applications to the U.S. Patent Office are pending.
Made from millions of tiny fibers
The patent on the technology has been licensed to FiberCell Inc., based in the Piedmont Triad Research Park of Winston-Salem, to develop a way to manufacture the cells. The company is producing its first large test cells.
These new solar cells are made from millions of miniscule plastic fibers that can collect sunlight at oblique angles – even when the sun is rising and setting. Flat-cell technology captures light primarily when the sun is directly above.
Where a flat cell loses energy when the sun’s rays bounce off its shiny surface, the fiber-based design creates more surface area to confine the sun’s rays, trapping the light in the tiny fiber “cans” where it bounces around until it is absorbed almost completely.
That means much greater energy production with fiber-based cells: Wake Forest’s fiber cells could produce about twice as many kilowatt hours per day as standard flat cells.
“We’ve been able to show that with a standard absorber we can collect more of the photons than anyone else can,” Carroll said. “Because of the way the device works, I get more power.”
To make the cells, the plastic fibers are assembled onto plastic sheets, with a technology similar to that used to create the tops of soft-drink cups. The absorber – either a polymer or a dye – is sprayed on. The plastic makes the cells lightweight and flexible – a manufacturer could roll them up and ship them anywhere cheaply.
Carroll envisions several key uses for fiber cells:
“We’ve known how to build the ‘smart house,’ it’s just been too expensive,” he said. “The fiber cell can change that.” Alter the dimensions and dye color, and builders can integrate the cells nearly anywhere in the home’s design. Because fiber cells can collect light at various angles, they no longer have to stay on the roof to work.
Builders could partner the cells with devices that could store the power more efficiently, turn off lights and appliances when not in use, and capture and redirect the heat the building radiates at night, and you have a more affordable, energy-efficient structure.
•Bringing power to developing countries:
Once the primary manufacturer ships the lightweight, plastic fiber cells, satellite plants in poor countries can spray them with the dye and prepare them for installation. Carroll estimates it would cost about $5 million to set up a finishing plant – about $15 million less than it could cost to set up a similar plant for flat cells.
•Revolutionizing the power grid: “What if you didn’t own your roof,” Carroll asked. “What if the power company did?” The fiber cells installed on some homes in each neighborhood would feed the grid, and the power company would monitor energy collection and distribution through a computer network. The homeowner would not maintain the cells; that responsibility would fall to the power company.
Friday, April 16th, 2010
ROANOKE, VA – You don’t see this often: GridPoint Inc., a company selling smart energy management and metering solutions, has issued a press release saying it is seeking talented technology pros for its Roanoke office.
The company says it is seeking technology professionals with skills in software and hardware engineering, data analysis, system operations and project management.
The company recently hired 13 new employees to Roanoke and expects to fill more positions this year.
We read several recent reports have shown increasing job openings in the tech sector as companies return to projects put on the back burner during the recession and start new ones.
GridPoint, which in late 2009 acquired Roanoke-based ADMMicro, provides smart energy solutions for business, government, residential and utility customers.
Operations in Roanoke remain focused on providing commercial enterprises with energy management and advanced submetering systems that provide detailed visibility and control over energy use, optimizing consumption and cost-effectively managing energy expenses.
Customers include public sector and Fortune 500 businesses, including leading national retail, pharmacy and restaurant chains.
“When GridPoint acquired ADMMicro, we expected to grow this office and have since increased our employee base by 30 percent.
“The Roanoke Valley has a great talent pool for technology companies, and we look forward to expanding our team further with professionals who are passionate about creating an efficient, clean energy system,” said John Clark, executive vice president, GridPoint.
Tuesday, April 6th, 2010
WAKE FOREST, NC – PowerSecure International Inc. (Nasdaq:POWR), a Wake Forest company selling energy solutions, has acquired Morrisville, NC-based Innovative Electronics Solutions (IES), buying a two-thirds stake for $4.4 million.
IES management holds the remaining third of the company, but PowerSecure has the option to buy 100 percent of the company by issuing shares worth at least $10 million.
IES works with LED lighting companies.
PowerSource says the acquisition of IES significantly enhances the Company’s LED lighting development capabilities to accelerate the expansion of new products and capitalize on the strong, growing demand in the marketplace for LED lighting.
Since 2002, the IES team has engineered dozens of innovative lighting products for many of the largest and fastest growing LED lighting companies in the marketplace. Among these products is a leading LED street light for utilities that is currently being deployed in the U.S., with additional near-term opportunities to provide the street light to international customers.
Its manufacturing operation is located in Raleigh.
Additionally, PowerSource said that it intends to exercise its option to increase its EfficientLights ownership interest from 67% to 100%, to secure the expected future E.P.S. benefits from owning the one-third minority interest in this growing business.
Thursday, April 1st, 2010
NORCROSS, GA – Suniva Inc., a U.S. manufacturer of high-efficiency monocrystalline silicon solar cells and modules, has been selected for the U.S. Department of Energy Loan Guarantee Program under the DOE’s Innovative Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy and Advanced Transmission and Distribution Technologies Solicitation.
Upon the completion of the DOE’s due diligence and subject to the successful negotiation of the terms of a loan for approximately $141 million, Suniva plans to start the construction of a new manufacturing plant in Saginaw County, Michigan.
Building such a manufacturing plant could create approximately 500 direct jobs at Suniva, while creating an additional 2,000 indirect jobs for the Michigan economy according to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.
Suniva currently employs a diverse workforce—approximately a quarter of its employees are military veterans and many others were hired from shuttered automotive plants.
“The DOE’s acceptance of Suniva into the Loan Guarantee Program is very timely and supports the shared vision of President Obama and Suniva in significantly increasing the level of exports over the next five years,” said John Baumstark, chairman and chief executive officer of Suniva.
“The loan guarantee is essential to our efforts in building a second manufacturing plant in Michigan as quickly as possible, creating new cleantech jobs for Americans and supporting the economy by substantially increasing the number of solar cells and modules available for export.”
The loan guarantee will enable Suniva to more than triple exports over the next five years. Last year, Suniva exported more than 90 percent of its products to Asia and Europe.
“Suniva exemplifies the innovative force behind the development of America’s leading-edge green technology, and it exports to the global marketplace,” said Fred P. Hochberg, Ex-IM Bank’s chair and president.
“Suniva exports products, not jobs. America will lead in exports when its businesses deliver value and innovation, which will also drive job growth.”
Suniva presented at the Tech Media Southeast Venture Conference in 2007.
Wednesday, March 31st, 2010
RICHMOND, VA – Intrinergy, a company that specializes in biomass sourcing, processing and delivery and energy production, has received a strategic investement in an undisclosed amount from Riverstone Holdings.
Intrinergy operates in the Southeast and Midwest United States and in Europe.
Intrinergy CEO John Kepler said, “Demand for biomass from utilities and consumers committed to clean energy and carbon reduction will soon outstrip biomass resources available in Europe. This, along with rising demand for biomass in North America, creates significant opportunities for Intrinergy, a company with operations in both continents.”
Riverstone’s investment will enable Intrinergy to acquire and develop low-cost wood pellet operations and other fiber processing assets, principally in the Southeastern United States and other selected regions. This will position the company to extend its ability to offer sustainable, carbon-neutral biomass to many of the world’s largest utilities that seek to reduce their carbon footprint.