Google’s first biofuel investment: CoolPlanetBiofuels

Google Ventures, the venture-capital arm of the search engine giant, has invested an unknown sum in CoolPlanetBiofuels, a company developing alternative fuels with byproducts that help remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

Algae biofuels for less than $40 a barrel?

That green stuff in your koi pond could power the world for less than $40 a gallon, if Australian biofuels company Algae.Tec has its way.

Did Solazyme just drop the “fuel” in biofuel?

Biofuels producer Solazyme inked a massive deal with Dow Chemical today to ship up to 60 million gallons of its algae-based oil as an insulating chemical for electric transformers in 2015.

2015: The future of biofuels and biomaterials

Production of biomaterials will grow faster than biofuels and increasing biofuel capacity is highly reliant on technology from innovative startups. These are some of the conclusions in a report just issued by Lux Research on the biofuel and biomaterial markets.

On the GreenBeat: Amyris weathers first day of trading, California to double solar capacity

Biofuels and biomaterials company Amyris’s stock held up in its first day of trading, closing last night at $16.50, up three percent from its opening price of $16. The stock peaked at $17.44, the San Francisco Chronicle writes. The report estimates about 2.4 million shares were traded yesterday. The stock was reportedly priced below range. Earth2Tech deemed the IPO a “decent exit” for investors, estimating the worth of investors stakes: $67 million for Kleiner Perkins, $62 million for Khosla Ventures. The company raised a total of $85 million.

On the GreenBeat: MiaSolé to raise $100 million ahead of IPO, Amyris shoots for $122 million

MiaSolé aims to raise $100 million in sixth-round funding in advance of a 2011 IPO, according to Green Tech Media. The article cites a report from Birchmere Ventures, which names Morgan Stanley as the underwriter for the thin-film solar panel maker’s planned IPO. Thin-film has lagged in producing efficiency rates equal to that of its crystalline silicon counterparts – and Applied Materials abandoned its thin-film efforts this year. Key is MiaSolé’s claim (and the confidence of its backers) that it can produce solar panels at a competitive efficiency (15.5 percent) and price (70 cents per watt) by the end of 2012.

On the GreenBeat: Unilever invests in Solazyme, Frito Lay launches electric trucks

Unilever joined biofuel company Solazyme’s fourth round of financing as a strategic investor, Solazyme announced yesterday. The companies already share an R&D agreement: Solazyme’s oils are already used in Unilever’s Lux soap, with the plans to incorporate more renewable oils into its personal care products, such as algal oil, a substitute for palm oil. Solazyme announced last month that they had raised $52 million in fourth-round fundraising, with Chevron Technology Ventures and agribusiness leader Bunge included among its backers. It also drew the backing of Richard Branson.

Range Fuels opens plant to commercialize methanol

Range Fuels, one of the more successful biofuel startups backed by Khosla Ventures, announced today that it has opened up its first commercial plant to make cellulosic methanol out of non-food feedstocks. Located in Georgia, the facility is expected to pump out 20 million gallons of ethanol and biodiesel every year.

Another biofuel IPO: Gevo files for $150M sale

Only a couple of days after algae-to-fuel company PetroAlgae filed for a $200 million IPO, Gevo — a startup boasting catalysts that can convert waste and cellulosic feedstocks into fuels — has also filed to raise $150 million on the public market.

Glucose biofuel cell could revolutionize medical technology

It turns out glucose, the naturally-occurring sugar compound that provides energy to living things (including us humans), can be harnessed to power electronic devices, according to new research out of Joseph Fourier University in France. The breakthrough could have far-reaching implications for makers of medical devices ranging from pacemakers to artificial organs.