New Zealand-based alternative fuels developer LanzaTech has raised $US55.8 million in its latest round of funding. New investors in the company, which produces low-carbon fuels and chemicals from waste gases, include the Malaysian Life Sciences Capital Fund, Petronas Technology Ventures, and Malaysian technical services provided Dialog Group. They join existing investors Khosla Ventres, Qiming Venture Partners and K1W1.
LanzaTech CEO Jennifer Holmgren, chief executive of LanzaTech said this funding will accelerate the development of next generation integrated biorefineries that will use the LanzaTech technology platform. “The size of this round and the quality of the new and returning investors is a strong validation of not only our technology, but the unparalleled opportunity for LanzaTech to be a global leader in biofuels and biochemicals markets,” Dr. Holmgren said.
LanzaTech technologies uses uses a proprietary fermentation process to convert gases (including industrial waste gases and gas derived from any biomass source) into fuels and chemicals. Roger Wyse, the co-chairman of Malaysian Life Sciences Capital Fund, said the technology will help address the dual challenge of energy demand and climate change without compromising the use of land and water resources.” LanzaTech is developing numerous deals in China, the US, India and elsewhere in Asia.
GE push into solar
GE is seeking to support its push into the solar energy market by encouraging developers to “double dip” into renewables by adding solar modules to wind farm development. GE, which accounts for around one quarter of all the energy installations across the globe, says combining wind and solar farms will help reduce costs on infrastructure, and make output more predictable and manageable.
GE has already found one customer, Invenergy, to install 23MW of GE’s thin-film solar pnales next to a 210MW wind farm it operates in Illinois, according to a Bloomberg report, and GE hopes more solar orders follow from wind customers.“It wasn’t until of late that costs came down enough for solar to make sense,” GE’s head of renewables Victor Abate told Bloomberg in an interview. “Plugging them in to wind farm locations, you already know the community, how to get the permits and secure interconnections to the grid.”
Abate said winds are generally strongest at night and solar panels produce power only during the day, so there is a synergy. “If we had just 10 percent of our installed wind capacity add solar, it would sell out our new factory for the next six years,” Abate said. It will also help GE weather an expected downturn in wind turbine sales as federal tax credits expire in the US. GE expects to complete its first solar-panel factory in Colorado by the end of this year. “
Ceramic selling units in Germany
Australia’s Ceramic Fuel Cells says it has had an encouraging start to a new marketing campaign to cell its BlueGen units into the German market. Ceramic has linked with local company sanevo to market the fuel cell to local utilities, and says it has already received customer commitments for its first order of 100 BlueGen units.
The orders come public energy utilities in six German states as well as from residential and commercial customers. One local utility, Stadtwerke Aalen, in the region of Aalen in Southern Germany, has agreed to actively promote and support sales of BlueGen to its customers, including by providing an incentive payment to early BlueGen customers.
“There is huge interest in BlueGen from customers and utilities in Germany, plus supportive policy settings,” Ceramic CEO Brendan Dow said, noting some states are contemplating financial incentives to install the units. Ceramic says its BlueGen converts natural gas into electricity and heat for hot water for homes and other buildings and delivers an electrical efficiency of up to 60 per cent. When the heat from BlueGen is used to produce hot water, total efficiency increases to up to 85 percent. It has targeted sales of 2,000 BlueGen units over next few years.
Acciona to go ahead with Mt Gellibrand wind farm
Spanish owned renewable energy develop Acciona said the 189MW Mt Gellibrand Wind Farm project in south west Victoria has received final approval from the Victorian government to go ahead of the project. Acciona needed the final approval before beginning construction on the $400 million project, but needed to begin construction by March, 2012, to meet permit provisions. Any delay may expose it to newly introduced provisions that place heavy restrictions on the placement of wind farms in the state.
Acciona is going ahead with at least the initial stage of construction without a power purchase agreement, but hopes that the market for PPAs is improving. It built the Waubra wind farm in Victoria on a similar basis, and also built the Gunning wind farm in NSW without a PPA, but later negotiated an agreement with Origin Energy. It is also a joint venture partner in the Cathedral Rocks wind farm in South Australia.