SolFocus Founder Turns Up the Heat with New Solar Startup b2u Solar

Gary Conley, the entrepreneur who founded concentrating solar company SolFocus, is at it again. Last month he launched b2u Solar, a startup which uses the sun’s heat for industrial applications like drying, curing and commercial baking, and is one of a crop of startups working to take advantage of the higher efficiency potential of heat compared to electricity.
At the Cleantech Forum in San Francisco last week, Conley claimed b2u’s technology can deliver the equivalent of 40 to 60 cents per watt – and 2.5 to 4.5 cents per kilowatt-hour – by generating heat directly, instead of producing energy that is then used to make heat. That makes it potentially competitive with natural gas today, and the economics look even better if the heat is also used for air conditioning, as well as heating, Conley said. (It may sound counterintuitive, but heat can be paired with a chiller to generate cool air).
Read More about SolFocus Founder Turns Up the Heat with New Solar Startup b2u Solar

The Largest Cleantech VC: China

When private investment in cleantech fell last year, government stimulus programs more than made up the difference, according to estimates that the Cleantech Group released at the Cleantech Forum in San Francisco this week. And no government is doing more to fill the gap than China’s. China has set aside a whopping $200.8 billion in stimulus funding for cleantech, 79 percent more than the $112.2 billion the U.S. stimulus funds have allocated to the industry, according to the latest Stern report released last year. (Estimates of U.S. green stimulus funding have varied broadly, with many ranging between $50 billion and $80 billion as of last year with $36.7 billion allocated to the Department of Energy.)

A chart that Sheeraz Haji, president of the Cleantech Group, presented Thursday shows that while worldwide private investment in cleantech fell below $150 billion in 2009, from just above $150 billion the previous year, global stimulus spending added an estimated $76 billion to the total pool of cleantech funding in 2009 and is expected to reach $182 billion this year (see chart, above). The chart is based on analysis from the Cleantech Group, as well as numbers from the World Economic Forum, the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook, Bloomberg’s New Energy Finance and HSBC.
Read More about The Largest Cleantech VC: China