Made in China: Prudent Energy Lands $22M For Flow Batteries

We’ve been tracking plenty of stories that underscore China’s growing might in cleantech, and here’s another one. Prudent Energy, the subsidiary of China’s JD Holdings, said Tuesday that it has raised a $22 million Series C round to build out its Beijing manufacturing capacity for vanadium redox flow batteries and to “drive the company’s steady growth into the U.S.A. and elsewhere,” according to a release.
Until recently, those batteries were being developed in Vancouver, Canada by a company called VRB Power Systems — that is, until Prudent Energy bought out the struggling company’s assets in Jan. 2009. Apparently new investors Northern Light Venture Capital and Sequoia Capital China, and existing investors DFJ and DT Capital, think Canadian technology and Chinese manufacturing are a winning combination.
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Verizon Makes It Easier to Transfer Music Between PC and Phone

Verizon (s vz) yesterday announced a new software tool that moves media from computers to handsets over USB. V CAST Media Manager, powered by Smith Micro Software, transfers photos, videos and music from a Windows PC to a number of supported phones and can keep both devices in sync. A quick glance at the supported phones shows nearly a dozen feature-phones and music-centric devices, so I see the need for such software. Also supported, however, is the BlackBerry Storm (s rimm), which might be better served with the BlackBerry Media Sync application. And Verizon says additional phones will be supported soon, including Google Android (s goog) devices. V CAST Media Manager features include:

Pictures and Videos:

  • Save the pictures and videos created with your phone onto your computer
  • Transfer files between your computer and your phone
  • Touch up your photos with intuitive editing tools
  • Create photo albums and slideshows
  • Email pictures to friends and family

Music:

  • Transfer songs and playlists from your computer to your phone
  • Rip and burn CDs
  • Add to your collection by browsing the millions of MP3s in the Verizon Wireless Media store

While there’s no charge for the V CAST Media Manager software, it does have at least one major limitation. When browsing the FAQs, I noticed this one:

“V CAST Media Manager also allows you to transfer DRM-free files from your computer to your phone; however, DRM and DRM-free files are not able to be transferred from the phone to a computer.”

Essentially, any music you purchase directly on your handset can’t be moved to the PC with this software solution. That includes DRM-free music, which is simply tragic. My gut says that Verizon would rather sell you the song a second time as opposed to have you share it across multiple devices.

5 Energy Storage Players That Won Smart Grid Stimulus Funds

In an interesting twist involving how the $4 billion in smart grid stimulus funds are being allocated, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu this morning announced that energy storage technology received 16 grants for a total of $185 million from the U.S. federal government. While the list of awards included funding for some well known energy storage projects for big name utilities — PG&E (s PCG) and Southern California Edison — the grant-winners also included a variety unknown and new startups developing cutting edge energy storage tech. Here’s 5 of these energy storage firms that have been thrust into the spotlight with this announcement, and what we know about them:

Seeo: Berkeley-Calif.-based Seeo won a $6.2 million grant to develop and deploy a 25 kWh prototype battery for the power grid using its technology. The startup was founded about two years ago by Mohit Singh, who developed the nano-structured polymer electrolyte as a post-doctoral fellow at Lawrence Berkeley National Labs. Singh explained the company’s technology at a UC Berkeley event last May as a nano-structured solid-state battery based on a polymer electrolyte that he said is more stable, safer, and has a higher energy density than current lithium-ion batteries on the market.
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Apollo Solar Powers Up With $4.5M

Apollo Solar, a Bethel, Conn.-based manufacturer of electronics for renewable energy devices, has raised $4.5 million in a private offering. Electronic components for solar technology are a fast-emerging investment category.