So that’s what happened to the VC-backed biofuel startup LS9 (it’s not pretty)

Biofuel startup LS9 has been sold for $40 million to biodiesel maker Renewable Energy Group, reports MIT Tech Review. But before you congratulate them, note that LS9 raised $81 million over nine years, and still hadn’t reached a point where it was selling its green diesel to refiners. Last year the company brought in a new CEO, following restructuring and layoffs. Such are the long roads and harsh conditions facing biofuel startups. LS9 was backed by Khosla Ventures, Flagship Ventures, Lightspeed Ventures, and Chevron Technology Ventures.

Chevron is really bearish on cleantech investing

Most of the oil giants have made small investments in cleantech and Chevron’s investment arm, Chevron Technology Ventures, was no exception. But Chevron has been moving away from making any cleantech investments, and hasn’t invested in a cleantech startup in two years, according to its President.

Wave Power Funding: Ireland’s Wavebob Raises Interim Round

Wavebob_PICOcean power is managing to float forward during the recession, thanks in large part to government programs and to a lesser extent, private funding. The latest example is 10-year-old wave power company Wavebob, with CEO Andrew Parish telling us this week that it’s raised €3 million ($4.4 million) in a mix of equity funding and grants. Parish views the funds as an interim round that will give the Maynooth, Ireland-based company some breathing room as it works to raise a larger one (Business & Leadership reported that Wavebob was seeking €25 million back in June).

The smaller round is “a reflection of the current climate,” Parish said. “We started the year with the ambition to raise a lot of money and realized it was going to be difficult and expensive.” WaveBob plans to start raising another round of roughly $20 million in the first quarter of next year, by which time Parish predicts fundraising conditions will improve. For one thing, he expects stimulus funding for marine power to start flowing next year.
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Biofuel Company LS9 Closes $25M With Chevron Backing

LS9_graphicLS9, a company which is using a genetically modified version of e.coli bacteria to make diesel from biomass, on Thursday announced it has raised $25 million in its third round of funding. Chevron Technology Ventures’ venture capital arm, CTTV Investments, participated in the round, making this the latest biofuel project from the big oil company. In 2008, Chevron announced a development deal with algae-based fuel company Solazyme, and has been working on a cellulosic ethanol joint venture, called Catchlight Energy, with forest-product company Weyerhaeuser.

While having a big oil backer is a good sign for a young startup, LS9’s round was markedly smaller than the $65 million the company was seeking back in February and well below the $75-$100 million it had hoped to raise last October.
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Bechtel Backs BrightSource’s Solar Thermal Projects

While “the boring stuff,” — permitting and siting solar plants and transmission lines — might cause the biggest hurdles for Oakland, Calif.-based solar thermal startup BrightSource, the company doesn’t seem to have any trouble bringing in big backers. According to the New York Times, BrightSource will announce on Wednesday that the finance arm of construction giant Bechtel has taken an equity stake in the company’s first group of solar thermal plants called the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System. Bechtel will provide the construction and engineering for the solar projects, which will sell solar power to California utilities Pacific Gas & Electric (s PCG) and Southern California Edison.
The Ivanpah solar farms, which will be built near the Nevada border to the west of Ivanpah Dry Lake, are some of the first in the queue of projects being reviewed by the California Energy Commission and the Bureau of Land Management. The long approval process from the state and federal regulators are holding up the projects more than anything else. “We’re in year two of [what was anticipated would be] a one year project,” said BrightSource CEO John Woolard at the National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas earlier this year.
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