BrightSource actually raising $130M for solar thermal

Solar thermal company BrightSource is actually looking to raise $130 million, which is another $50 million over the amount it announced last month. The company makes solar thermal power plants which use mirrors and a boiler to produce electricity.

And the greentech VC exodus continues

It’s no secret that it’s been a rocky road for many venture capitalists that have invested in greentech. Now according to Dow Jones Venture Wire, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, which has one of the largest greentech portfolios, is shifting away from investing in greentech startups.

BioFuelBox Opens Its First Fat-to-Fuel Plant

BioFuelBox_PICWe’ve heard hardly a peep from BioFuelBox, a 3-year-old biofuel startup backed by Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Element Partners, since it raised its first round of $9.46 million back in 2007. But now the San Jose, Calif.-based quiet company says it’s ready to hit the market in a big way. On Monday BiofuelBox announced it has opened – and begun operating – its first biodiesel refinery, a 1-million-gallon-per-year plant that turns waste grease, oil and fat into low-sulfur biodiesel.

It’s an interesting move at a time when other biodiesel plants are being idled, shuttered and put up for sale. But BioFuelBox says its biodiesel is cost-competitive with diesel from petroleum, that it’s already bringing in revenue, and that it expects to have 10 factories up and running by the middle of 2011, with its first profits early in the same year.
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Update to My Gmail Setup: Night Shade

A lot of folks found my custom Gmail setup to be helpful, and one of the most common questions I received was which theme I was using when the image was made (Dusk). It reminded me that the way a program looks is very important, so I’ve been trying out different themes from Google (s goog). I’ve found the one I’ve been using over last few days to be very soothing, especially given the amount of time I spend staring at it. It’s known as “Night Shade”:
JK Gmail new theme
As you can see, I’ve also decided to keep multiple inboxes pane below the inbox.
What Gmail theme are you using?

Deeya Nabs Another $30M for Energy Storage

deeya-logo-updatedFor Deeya Energy, good things come in threes. The Fremont, Calif.-based startup, which is working on energy storage technology for three applications — replacing diesel generators, stockpiling renewable energy, and stabilizing the electric grid — has just closed a third round of financing. The oversubscribed $30 million round brings Deeya’s total venture capital investment since its founding in 2004 to $53 million.

deeya-energy-esp New investor Technology Partners — which has also backed Abound Solar and Tesla Motors — led the round, and existing investors BlueRun Ventures, Draper Fisher Jurvetson and New Enterprise Associates also joined. At this point, the company says it plans to use the new investment to expand operations and ramp up production of its so-called L-cell technology. Deeya’s modular devices (pictured) are an example of flow battery tech — they use large tanks full of dissolved electrolytes to store power at utility scale.

Large-scale energy storage is getting to be a crowded space these days. Fellow startups EEstor, Altairnano (s ALTI) and A123Systems are all looking to connect high-capacity, fast-charging energy storage devices to the energy grid. To be sure, updating the electric grid to make better use of wind and solar resources (which can’t be called up on demand like a coal-fired power plant) remains a work in progress. But the idea is to store excess energy generated at night or during other periods of low demand, and then deploy that clean power when demand spikes instead of firing up polluting power plants.

Element Partners Rakes In $486M for New Cleantech Fund

element-partners-logo1Six months ago, Element Partners Managing Partner David Lincoln heard a persistent question about cleantech investment, according to a Philadelphia Business Journal report: Was cleantech in the midst of a bubble?

Excitement over growth in the industry had started to jack up the cost of investments. But with the economic downturn, the party’s over — and Element (formerly DFJ Element, since it’s part of Draper Fisher Jurvetson’s network of partner funds) sees opportunities as a result. Now it has a fat new fund to take advantage of them.

The Pennsylvania-based venture capital firm announced today that it just closed on $486 million for its second fund, convincing limited partners to pony up $86 million more than the firm’s initial target. According to the Business Journal, most of the commitments came in prior to the fourth quarter of last year, when fund raising took a dive — but closing on a fund of this size, in the current economic climate, represents no small task.

Unlike Index Ventures, which we wrote about earlier this week when it closed a new €350 million (about $440 million) fund meant in part to expand its sparse cleantech portfolio, Element has cleantech as its founding focus. The firm’s 22-company portfolio is dominated by ventures involved with energy efficiency, water treatment and clean energy technologies.