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Verenium Closes Sale of Cellulosic Biofuels Business to BP

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Completion of this transaction is evidence that big oil continues to nibble away at the biofuel business. While this is a tiny bite for BP, it supports the future trajectory of cellulosic biofuel demand if only related to increased requirements by the EPA to bring ethanol up to 15% of the gasoline blend.

Company to focus on growing commercial enzyme business —

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Sept 02, 2010 /PRNewswire via COMTEX News Network/ — Verenium Corporation (Nasdaq: VRNM), a pioneer in the development and commercialization of high-performance industrial enzyme solutions, today announced the closing of the sale of its cellulosic biofuels business to BP Biofuels North America for $98.3 million, subject to the additional financial terms of the transaction announced on July 15, 2010.

In the transaction, BP acquired the Company’s facilities in Jennings, LA, including the pilot plant and demonstration-scale facility, the San Diego, CA R&D facilities, as well as cellulosic biofuels and cellulosic enzyme technology and related IP. In addition, BP retained select personnel needed to continue the cellulosic biofuels development program. BP also became the sole owner of Vercipia Biofuels and Galaxy Biofuels, the 50-50 joint ventures created by the Company and BP.

Verenium retains its commercial enzyme business, including its biofuels enzyme products, and has the right to develop its own cellulosic enzyme program. Verenium also retains select R&D capabilities, as well as the potential option to access select biofuels technology developed by BP using the technology acquired from Verenium through this transaction.

UBS Investment Bank acted as financial advisor to Verenium in connection with this transaction.

The material terms of the transaction are described in greater detail in the Company’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on July 19, 2010.

Verenium Corporation is a pioneer in the development and commercialization of high-performance enzymes for use in industrial processes. Verenium currently sells enzymes developed using its R&D capabilities to industrial customers globally for use in markets including grain and oilseed processing, biofuels, animal health and nutrition and other specialty industrial processes. Verenium has built a world-class R&D organization renowned for its capabilities in the rapid screening, identification, evolution and bioengineering of novel enzymes that act as catalysts for biochemical reactions. The company harnesses the power of nature and uses its unique, patented technology to create products that transform industries by maximizing efficiency while improving environmental performance. For more information on Verenium, visit http://www.verenium.com.

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Brammo – Wins Best Electric Motorcycle for 2010

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Motorcycle.com ranked the Brammo Enertia as the “Best Electric Motorcycle” for 2010. See rankings list.

The Enertia was cited for its uncompromising quality of components and super low operating costs. While priced at $7,995, it remains a good value in its category beating out the competition. We’ll be watching to see how the high performance Empulse does when it is released. An innovative company with strong partners in Best Buy and Chrysalix Energy Ventures indeed. Brammo is also a “portfolio” company of the Northwest Energy Angels.

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Brammo Announces 100+ MPH Empulse EV Powercycle

Brammo Empulse
Previously we have mentioned Brammo as an innovative EV motorcycle company (backed by Chrysalix Energy Ventures and Best Buy Capital) which is positioning its cycles as a combination of performance, practicality, and value. Now their latest model, the Empulse, follows the Enertia as a higher performance cycle with three range options.

What we like about Brammo is their focus on innovative product design that delivers performance. They are pushing the range out to 100+ miles with sustained 100 MPH speed. This is getting much closer to the holy grail of EV motorcycles. Starting at $9,995, the Empulse features a unique water-cooled system and should be available in first quarter of 2011.

CEO Craig Bramscher is someone to watch given his focus on innovative product management and drive to make things happen in the business. Craig is a vehicle person to the core and it shows in his products and his team.

Getting further distribution with partner Best Buy is key. Also, when the price of oil shoots back up or if carbon gets priced, we’ll see Empulse’s and Enertia’s accelerate in volume. They will be star students of the new “E-Class”.

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Fisker Automotive Closes DOE $528.7M Loan Package

Fisker logo
Fisker Automotive hits a major milestone on the road to delivering advanced vehicles we can drive and enjoy eco-performance with the official closing of its sizable DOE loan package. The loan along with additional private equity will fund both the launch of the Karma later this year and the development of the next model called “Project NINA”. As oil prices start to creep up again, more attention will be paid to these innovative driving solutions that reduce our dependence on oil and are much more enviro-friendly, without compromising a superb driving experience.

Official Release:
The Department of Energy announced today the closing of a $528.7 million loan with Fisker Automotive for the development and production of two lines of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV). The loan will support the Karma, a full-size, four-door sports sedan, and a line of family oriented models being developed under the company’s Project NINA program.

“The story of Fisker is a story of ingenuity of an American company, a commitment to innovation by the U.S. government and the perseverance of the American auto industry,” said Vice President Joe Biden. “The Boxwood Plant is opening again, employing workers in Delaware, and is serving as a roadmap for all we can accomplish if everyone works together. Thanks to real dedication by this Administration, loans from the Department of Energy, the creativity of U.S. companies and the tenacity of great state partners like Delaware – we’re on our way to helping America’s auto industry reclaim its top position in the global market.”

Fisker, a startup based in southern California, expects to manufacture the Karma and Project NINA lines at a recently shuttered General Motors factory in Wilmington, Delaware. Fisker anticipates that it will employ 2,000 American assembly workers. Industry experts expect that domestic parts suppliers and service providers also will increase employment substantially.

“Not only will the Fisker projects contribute to cleaner air and reduced carbon emissions, these plug-in hybrid cars will help put American ingenuity at the forefront of automotive design and production,” said Secretary Chu. “And they will bring innovative cars to the market place while putting American workers back on the job,” Secretary Chu added.

Fisker’s plug-in hybrid products will be among the first to market and will help to accelerate the introduction of fuel-saving electrified vehicles in the U.S. When full production is reached in 2015, Fisker estimates annual sales at up to 115,000 vehicles. Combining Fisker projected sales volume with the expected sales volume of the Nissan Leaf and the Tesla Model S, sales of electric and PHEVs funded with DOE ATVM loans could exceed 300,000 annually.

Initially, Fisker Automotive will use the proceeds of the loan for qualifying engineering integration costs as it works with primarily U.S. suppliers to incorporate components into the Karma’s design. The engineering integration work will be conducted in Irvine, California, where engineers will design tools and equipment and develop manufacturing processes. The Karma is scheduled to appear in showrooms in late 2010. The second stage will involve the purchase and retooling of the former GM plant to manufacture the Project NINA line of PHEVs, which is expected to begin rolling off the assembly line in late 2012.

Fisker automobiles are driven by electric motors that get their power from a rechargeable Lithium-ion battery, or, when that is depleted, by a generator driven by an efficient gas-powered engine. The Karma and Project NINA models will have an all-electric, tailpipe-emission-free range of 40 to 50 miles on a full charge, more than most Americans drive each day. The battery can be charged at home overnight. Using gas and electric power, Fisker plug-in hybrids are expected to have a cruising range of up to 300 miles.

The Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program supports the development of advanced technology vehicles with improved fuel efficiency that help reduce the nation’s dependence on oil. This is the fourth loan arrangement signed by DOE with an advanced technology vehicle manufacturer.

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Eco-Advanced: Fisker Unveils its Sunset Luxury Convertible PHEV

chicago-fisker-sunset It doesn’t get much better than a 100 MPG plug-in hybrid convertible with 400 hp that’s beautifully crafted by a company who is well focused on a successful formula for success in the global luxury automobile market that eco-advanced.

Check out the Luxist feature from the Chicago Auto Show:
http://www.luxist.com/tag/Fisker+Automotive/

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Brammo Gets on Cycle World Cover

Published on 15 February 2010 by in Blog, Clean Tech, News

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Brammo Gets on Cycle World Cover

Front_3Q_Green 1000x667This innovative, all electric, performance motorcycle company continues to get great press on its Enertia bike. You can get them at Best Buy stores and they have reduced the price to $7,995!

http://brammofan.wordpress.com/2010/02/15/big-brammo-day-cycle-world-cover-and-more/

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Bill Gates Calls for an ‘Energy Miracle’

Bill Gates at TED

Bill Gates at TED


Bill is right about solving the energy+emissions problem. Read this CNN article.

Long Beach, California (CNN) — Microsoft Corp. founder and philanthropist Bill Gates on Friday called on the world’s tech community to find a way to turn spent nuclear fuel into cheap, clean energy.

“What we’re going to have to do at a global scale is create a new system,” Gates said in a speech at the TED Conference in Long Beach, California. “So we need energy miracles.”

Gates called climate change the world’s most vexing problem, and added that finding a cheap and clean energy source is more important than creating new vaccines and improving farming techniques, causes into which he has invested billion of dollars.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation last month pledged $10 billion to help deploy and develop vaccines for children in the developing world.

The world must eliminate all of its carbon emissions and cut energy costs in half in order to prevent a climate catastrophe, which will hit the world’s poor hardest, he said.

“We have to drive full speed and get a miracle in a pretty tight timeline,” he said.

Gates said the deadline for the world to cut all of its carbon emissions is 2050. He suggested that researchers spend the next 20 years inventing and perfecting clean-energy technologies, and then the next 20 years implementing them.

The world’s energy portfolio should not include coal or natural gas, he said, and must include carbon capture and storage technology as well as nuclear, wind and both solar photovoltaics and solar thermal power.

“We’re going to have to work on each of these five [areas] and we can’t give up on any of them because they look daunting,” he said. “They all have significant challenges.”

Gates spent a significant portion of his speech highlighting nuclear technology that would turn spent uranium — the 99 percent of uranium rods that aren’t burned in current nuclear power plants — into electricity.

That technology could power the world indefinitely; spent uranium supplies in the U.S. alone could power the country for 100 years, he said.

A “traveling wave reactor” would burn uranium waste slowly, meaning a 60-year supply could be added to a reactor at once and then not touched for decades, he said.

Gates also called for innovation in battery technology.

“All the batteries we make now could store less than 10 minutes of all the energy [in the world],” he said. “So, in fact, we need a big breakthrough here. Something that’s going to be of a factor of 100 better than what we have now.”

Gates called for more investment in climate-related technology. He said he is backing a company called TerraPower, which is working on an alternate form of nuclear technology that uses spent fuel.

Money that goes into research and development will pay bigger returns than other investments, he said, especially if money goes into energy sources that will be cheap enough for the developing world to afford.

Clean energy technologies must be installed in poorer countries as they develop, he said.

“You’d be stunned at the ridiculously low costs of innovation,” said Gates, who received a standing ovation for his remarks.

If he could wish for anything in the world, Gates said he would not pick the next 50 years’ worth of presidents or wish for a miracle vaccine.

He would choose energy that is half as expensive as coal and doesn’t warm the planet.

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Smart Grid Can Decrease Energy Use 12% by 2030 Says PNNL Report

PNNL LogoRICHLAND, Wash. – A smart electrical power grid could decrease annual electric energy use and utility sector carbon emissions at least 12 percent by 2030, according to a new report from the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

The report, The Smart Grid: An Estimation of the Energy and CO2 Benefits, shows a direct link between the smart grid and carbon emissions. It evaluates how different functions of the smart grid could provide substantial reduction in energy use and carbon emissions – both directly by using new technology and indirectly by making renewable energy and efficiency programs more affordable and potentially larger.

That means by fully utilizing a smart grid, the nation could prevent the equivalent of 442 million metric tons, or 66 typical coal power plants’ worth, of carbon emissions from entering the atmosphere each year. Those 66 power plants produce the equivalent amount of electricity needed to power 70 million of today’s homes.

“By making the grid smart, we make it more efficient and more accommodating of renewables, and we’re able to cut down on the amount of carbon we emit to generate the electricity we need,” said Rob Pratt, PNNL research scientist. “This report suggests that we could substantially reduce emissions by deploying a smart grid.”

“We wanted to show the additional benefits inherent in the smart grid’s potential contribution to the nation’s goal of mitigating climate change by reducing the carbon footprint of the electric power system,” he said.

Until recently, the fields of emissions research and smart grid research have been largely separate, even while both strive to secure the nation’s energy future. The report joins a growing body of literature that allows researchers, analysts, investors and policymakers to make a definitive link between the two areas of study – and defines the linkage as a legitimate area for further research and technology development by government. It also informs the business case for smart grid investments by utilities and others.

“This report has significant implications for public and private sector interests engaging in future research, financial and policy decisions in this area,” said Mike Davis, PNNL associate laboratory director for Energy and Environment. “Reducing our dependence on foreign oil and reducing our carbon footprint can go hand-in-hand and be profitable.”

Mechanisms considered

Pratt led a team of eight authors on the report. They analyzed nine different ways, or mechanisms, by which the smart grid could reduce carbon emissions. They also outlined recommendations for future and additional research in each of these areas to fulfill the Administration’s goal of substantial reductions by the year 2030. The DOE Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability’s Smart Grid R&D Program funded the study.

Learn about the direct and indirect impacts of a smart grid.

Direct mechanisms reduce electricity and CO2 emissions when smart grid functions are implemented. Direct mechanisms include incorporating smart grid-enabled diagnostics in residential and commercial buildings; adding more plug-in hybrid electric vehicles to the market; and benefiting from the conservation effect of consumers being more aware about their own energy use – a mechanism that is made possible by a smarter grid.

Indirect mechanisms are realized when smart grid capabilities are used to reduce the costs of deploying and operating efficiency and renewables. These cost savings can be turned into carbon savings by reinvesting in carbon reductions down the road. Using demand response and energy storage devices to bring renewable energy on the grid is one indirect mechanism that can reduce the need to build additional power plants to handle the increased reserve power renewables require.

“The importance of the direct and indirect reduction mechanisms is in their combined effect on reducing carbon emissions,” said Pratt. “Some mechanisms proved insignificant, and the larger ones each appear capable of providing about a 3 percent reduction. In combination, they could reduce the electric grid’s carbon footprint by a very substantial 12 percent or more.”

“This is very significant in light of future renewable portfolio goals of 20 to 30 percent set for the electricity sector in many states for the 2030 time frame, with even higher subsequent goals being contemplated as part of a national carbon policy,” he said.

Full deployment

The estimates assume full deployment of a smart grid or virtually 100 percent penetration of smart grid technologies. They can be scaled down in proportion to actual smart grid penetrations to estimate the potential reductions at any given level of deployment over time.

A smart grid incorporates multiple technologies into the existing electricity delivery system and enables more visibility and control of both the existing electricity infrastructure and new “smart” components, such as smart meters, automated demand response, plug-in electric vehicles and electricity storage devices. The smart grid’s much broader cost and operational benefits are provided through high-speed, two-way communication, sensing and real-time coordination of assets all the way down to the customer meter and other end use devices, such as smart appliances and thermostats.

A basic perspective of PNNL’s analysis is that, during the next 20 years, smart grid technology will become pervasive in the U.S. because of the cost efficiencies and reliability improvements it provides for the electric power system. Clearly, once purchased, this same infrastructure can be leveraged to provide the additional benefits identified in this report with little, if any, marginal cost.

PNNL’s recommendations include further analysis of some technical aspects of the mechanisms, further study of behavior-related mechanisms such as the impact of consumer information, and better accounting for the range of uncertainty for the reductions estimates, as more definitive analyses are conducted and better methods are tailored to estimate each mechanism’s potential.

PNNL’s report also analyzes a variety of existing research including related assessments by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and The Climate Group.

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Tesla Motors Files S-1

Published on 29 January 2010 by in News

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Tesla Motors Files S-1

PrintThis is encouraging that we are seeing another potential IPO to drive more liquidity to investors in the cleantech space and that we should get more public finacial support for a new generation of energy efficient vehicles which we desperately need.

PALO ALTO, CA. – Tesla Motors, Inc. today announced that it has filed a registration statement on Form S-1 with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a proposed initial public offering of its common stock. Tesla Motors designs, manufactures and sells high-performance fully electric vehicles and advanced electric vehicle powertrain components. The number of shares to be offered and the price range for the offering have not yet been determined.

Goldman, Sachs & Co., Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan and Deutsche Bank Securities are acting as the joint book-running managers for the offering.

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Fisker Automotive Closes on $115 Million – Plug-in Hybrid Momentum

Fisker Karma 2010Fisker Automotive has secured access to an additional $115.3 million in private equity funding to develop plug-in hybrid cars. This funding is necessary for Fisker to access a $528.7 million U.S. Department of Energy conditional loan that will, in part, help speed completion of the Fisker Karma, the company’s first plug-in hybrid. The raise comes at a time when capital is scarce, the auto industry is struggling and the global economy is just beginning to rebound. Starting at $87,900 the Karma paves the way for development of lower-cost plug-in hybrid technology for a second, family-oriented car code named Project NINA. Project NINA is expected to be built in Wilmington, Delaware at a former General Motors assembly plant starting in 2012. “Raising $115 million in these times speaks volumes about the value of our business model and the vast potential of plug-in hybrids,” said Henrik Fisker, CEO.

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