Genomatica’s IPO: By the numbers

Turning renewable materials such as plants into useful chemicals seems a great idea, particularly when these green chemicals can replace compounds made from crude oil and natural gas. Genomatica, which filed for an initial public offering on Wednesday, certainly hopes investors will agree.

Today in Green IT: Honing the right cleantech message

Honing the right message about the benefits of clean power is harder than it looks. That’s the theme for Today in Green IT — our daily look at what the curator of our research service, Adam Lesser, has been reading and thinking about.

Obama’s $510M bet to boost biofuels for the military

To promote biofuel production, the U.S. government is becoming both the investor and customer. The White House announced Tuesday a $510 million investment to speed up biofuel production for the military and beyond.

Biofuel maker KiOR faces questions over funding

Freshly minted as a public company, biofuel producer KiOR reported Thursday that it brought in no revenues and widened its losses for the second quarter. It also faced questions about raising money for a processing plant when the economy is still struggling.

No DOE loan guarantee for KiOR, at least not this year

There will be no loan guarantee for recently public biofuel company KiOR, at least this year. According to correspondence with the SEC, KiOR put its application for 2011 on hold in May, with plans to roll it over to 2012 — assuming the program gets funded for 2012.

Greentech stocks crash in market sell-off, too

Tech stocks took a beating on Monday morning, the first day of trading after Standard & Poor downgraded the credit ratings of credit agencies. At the same time, greentech stocks — from solar to biofuels to smart grid — fell alongside the weak macro economic news.

Algae company Solazyme reports revenue & losses up

Algae oil company Solazyme, which went public in May of this year, reported both revenue and losses up for the second quarter of the year. At the same time, the company said it expects to produce 500,000 metric tons of algae oil by 2015.

Today in Cleantech

I’m guessing that if you polled self-described “green” advocates about their least favorite green technology, biofuels would be at the top of the list. Out of all the forms of renewable energy, biofuels are the most controversial from an environmental perspective, mainly because every drop now available to global markets comes from food crops like corn, sugarcane and soy. It would be nice if cellulosic biofuel — the stuff made from non-food plant materials — could step up and provide at least a fraction of the potential market. But that just hasn’t happened the way the industry and its government backers have hoped. In fact, commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol production is so far behind schedule in the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency has had to slash its targets twice, from an original hope for 100 million gallons by 2010 and 250 million gallons by 2011 to a bare 12.9 million gallons by next year — and even that pathetically small figure will be a challenge for the industry to manage. Looks like we’ve got awhile to perfect cellulosic biofuel’s technology, and the business model, and the feedstock issues, and all the other problems that have limited its development to date.

Today in Cleantech

The second quarter’s greentech venture capital investment figures are out, and they’re not that hot, according to the Cleantech Group. The analysis firm recorded $1.83 billion in private investment into global green technology startups in the second quarter, down 10 percent from the first quarter’s $2.03 billion and down one-third from the $2.75 billion recorded in the second quarter of 2010. Part of the second quarter’s decline had to do with a dearth of large-scale investments, with only one $100 million-plus round for Fisker Automotive, compared to seven $100 million-plus rounds in the first quarter. At the same time, early-stage financing remained hard to come by, with only 13 percent of the quarter’s total going to seed round or series A investments. The second quarter did hold a positive note for the energy efficiency sector, which for the first time took the top slot with $428 million, beating out solar with $363 million, biofuel with $237 million, green transportation with $173 million and energy storage with $132 million. LED companies led the energy efficiency sector’s haul, with big investments including Bridgelux’s $80 million round and QD Vision’s $22 million, but other big rounds in the sprawling efficiency sector included $50 million for home security and energy software startup iControl and $25 million for high-efficiency power conversion tech provider Transphorm.

Feds offer $105M loan guarantee for “Project Liberty” biofuel plant

Poet’s so-called “Project Liberty” biofuel plant, which will use corn waste instead of edible corn, is getting some support from the U.S. government. On Thursday, the Department of Energy announced it will offer Poet a $105 million loan guarantee to build out Project Liberty in Iowa.