Lighthouse shines on flexible solar specialist Konarka

Konarka Technologies Inc. of Lowell, Mass., just announced it received $7 million (U.S.) in venture debt financing from Lighthouse Capital Partners. Rob Day at Cleantech Investing points out that Konarka has so far raised $30 million in equity. There appears to be very strong appetite for investing in solar PV, particularly in companies that are developing ways to make cheaper, more efficient and flexible solar PV materials. This bodes well for Cambridge, Ont.-based Spheral Solar, a subsidiary of ATS Automation Tooling Systems. If rumours are correct, ATS is seriously considering an IPO of Spheral Solar. This latest Konarka announcement, combined with the planned IPO of Cypress Semiconductor’s SunPower unit, bodes well for Spheral and any plans to tap investor enthusiasm for solar PV advancements and market momentum.

Nanotech meets Cleantech: CarboPur snags more financing

Here’s a neat little company out of Montreal that announced today an A round of venture financing in the ballpark of $3 million to $5 million. Ventures West and MSBi Capital are lead investors in CarboPur, which has come up with a way to make activated carbon fabric (as opposed to messy carbon powder or granules) that can, among other things, act as a more effective filter for water and air. Once more, the company has technology that can regenerate the fabric using an electric current, meaning no need to replace the filter.

Who knows, the fabric could find its way into the next generation of Brita filters?

There are many other applications, such as for making fuel cells, hydrogen storage containers and ultracapacitors. The company is also focusing on using the fabric to make military suits that would protect personnel from chemical attacks or when handling toxic materials.

Check out the Star’s Web site on Monday, as I’ll probably be writing a more detailed profile of CarboPur and its potential in the market. Or drop by this blog for a link to the Star article.

Sustainable energy panel created to explore energy options

John Efford, minister of Natural Resources Canada, announced the creation of a 9-member expert panel today that will “examine Canada’s current energy situation, key technology strengths and the best mechanisms for partnerships with the provinces, territories, industry and academia, as well as internationally.”

The panel, which supports a sustainable energy strategy announced in the proposed federal budget, is expected to report back to the minister this December. The goal is to determine what our science and technology priorities should be in the context of developing a sustainable energy regime for the country.

The panelists are a mixed batch that bring together experts from hydro, coal, petroleum, biomass, fuel-cell, and hydrogen fields. It will be interesting to see the final report and what their recommendation to the government will be. Stay tuned.