GE’s smart grid challenge unveils home energy winners

GE has unveiled the second winners of its smart grid challenge, this time focused on home energy. GE says along with its VC partners, it’s investing another $63 million — of its $200 million fund — into 10 companies and giving $100,000 awards to 5 more.

Qatar Goes Green with UK Cleantech Fund

The oil-rich nation of Qatar is teaming up with the UK government-backed Carbon Trust to pour cash into cleantech companies. The two countries plan to launch a £250 million ($396.2 million) fund for clean energy business, focusing on startups in the UK. The deal also calls for the possible creation of a joint research center in Qatar that could help the emirate jump on the growing cleantech industry in the Gulf region.
The Qatar-UK partnership will begin investing with up to £150 million ($237.8 million) coming from Qatar and the remaining £100 million from the Carbon Trust and the private sector. The Carbon Trust told Earth2Tech that it has not yet disclosed the amount of its contribution. The funding will be used to invest “in companies developing a wide range of low carbon technologies,” UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown said in a press conference in Qatar. “And it is right that we cooperate on how we can make the energy resources of our countries do better for us in the future.”
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UK Sets Challenge for Algae Biofuel by 2020

The UK’s Carbon Trust, a publicly funded independent company, has launched the Algae Biofuel Challenge today. The project seeks to commercialize the use of algae biofuel by 2020. The Carbon Trust estimates the program will cost up to £30 million ($38.5$48.5 million) and will in part be funded by the Trust and the Department for Transport.

The two-phase project will initially focus on five key research and development problems — algae strain isolation, yield improvement, solar efficiency, sustained cultivation and mass culture system design. Today, the program is accepting applications for grants to further R&D in these areas. We know lots of algae biofuel startups who could probably pick up a few extra pounds for their research and help accelerate the commercialization of the entire sector. Pond scum entrepreneurs, check out the application here.
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