Ultracapacitors for electric cars looking more likely

According to most experts’ expectations for electric cars, the vehicles will be fueled mainly by batteries. But there’s a dark horse competitor for energy storage: ultracapacitors, devices that store energy in an electric field. Three companies, Apowercap Technologies, Eestor and Maxwell Technologies, are looking increasingly likely to commercialize that technology.

Cobalt Biofuels gets $25M for biobutanol

Usually when a startup classifies itself as a biofuel company, it makes one of two fuels: biodiesel or ethanol. However, there’s a range of alternatives that could be commercialized, one of which Cobalt Biofuels is after: biobutanol, a liquid fuel that is more similar to gasoline than ethanol.

Shadowy government project spins off Siri to help direct your affairs

Conspiracy theorists will love this one: A computerized assistant that can help you manage your day to day life, built atop an artificial intelligence platform developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the United States’ internal military research group. Siri, the startup building the assistant, is today announcing $8.5 million in venture funding.

Standard Solar raises $8.5M for solar systems

In a sign investors may be warming up again to the residential and commercial photovoltaics market now that Congress has finally approved the extension of renewable tax credits, Gaithersburg, Maryland-based Standard Solar has secured $8.5 million in second round funding from Truecast Capital and a number of private and institutional investors.

Novozymes gets $12.3M for cellulosic ethanol enzymes

In many ways, commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol production still seems a long way off. It’s still marked by high costs and low efficiencies. But these limitations haven’t dissuaded prominent investors from taking the plunge, with VCs like Khosla Ventures pouring over $400 million into startups like Verenium, Mascoma, Range Fuels and Coskata in recent months.

GangaGen raises $1.8M for bacteria treatments

GangaGen is a biotech company that’s working on bacteriophages, which are viruses that infect and destroy bacteria. The company raised $1.8 million to develop treatments for antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections like pneumonia and MRSA, a skin infection that plagues hospitals.

Wind Power Holdings snags $37M for wind turbines

As the rest of the economy tanks, the cleantech sector has remained buoyant, with investors continuing to dump cash into wind, solar and other renewable energies. Banking on a recent wave of enthusiasm for wind power, Barre, Vt.-based Northern Power Systems announced that its parent company, Wind Power Holdings, has raised $37 million in first round funding.

Ostara secures $10.5M for wastewater-to-fertilizer technology

Vancouver, Canada-based Ostara Nutrient Recovery Systems is the latest in a series of companies to make its business converting waste into useful products — in this case by removing nutrients, like phosophorus, from wastewater and recycling them into fertilizer. The water treatment firm has just raised $10.5 million in private equity financing from VantagePoint Venture Partners and Foursome Investments Limited.

Electric Power Research Institute gets $1.7M for wave power research

The Department of Energy (DoE) has been conspicuously doling out grants left and right to support several clean energy initiatives in recent months. The latest beneficiary, to the tune of $1.7 million, is the Palo Alto, Calif.-based Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), which will use the funds to develop and test advanced water power technologies.

Sencera nabs another $15.6M for solar cells

While the overall economy may be in a bad spot, investments in green funds and renewable energy startups are showing little sign of waning, with solar firms like SoloPower, Nanosolar and AVA Solar leading the way. Its financial prowess may not match that of its better established competitors, but Charlotte, North Carolina-based Sencera isn’t doing too badly either, capping a second round of funding with $15.6 million from Quercus Trust.

Pentadyne Power raises $22M for flywheel energy storage

Pentadyne Power, a Chatsworth, Calif.-based developer of flywheel energy storage systems, has just closed a $22 million financing round, led by return investors. The company didn’t disclose the identity of its backers though it has previously received support from Rustic Canyon Partners, Loudwater Investment Partners, Nth Power, Energy Innovation Portfolio and others.