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CEREPLAST INC : 02/04/2009 : article forbes

09 juin 200910:46

: roughs-cleantech.html

Cleantech: Where The Economy Doesn't Suck
Kerry A. Dolan, 04.01.09, 08:00 AM EDT

The sector raised $1 billion in venture funding during the first quarter.

There's so much bad news about business these days--these past six months, in fact--that at times it's hard to imagine anything else.

But in the clean technology corner of the economy, there are pockets of pretty decent news. A handful of companies I've spoken with recently, including Cereplast, a bioresins manufacturer, and Luminus Devices, which makes LEDs, are expecting revenues to at least double this year. Granted, these are small companies and revenues will be doubling from the single-digit or low double-digit millions of dollars, but growth of any kind is heartwarming in this environment.

Yahoo! BuzzInvestors are still hopeful about clean tech. The market research outfit Cleantech Group and auditing firm Deloitte plan to announce Wednesday that venture investing in clean technology companies totaled $1 billion in the first quarter this year. Yes, it's a significant drop from the $1.7 billion invested in the fourth quarter of 2008 and from the $2.6 billion invested in the third quarter.

But given all the layoffs and financial troubles in the automotive and financial sectors (to name a few), $1 billion in new, non-governmental money looks mighty good. Solar deals pulled in the most money--$346 million, including $67 million raised by concentrated solar start-up SolFocus.

Then there's the shot in the arm that clean tech will be getting from government grants and loans. Cleantech Group Senior Director of Research Brian Fan says that the U.S. Department of Energy expects to spend $33 billion in grants and $134 billion in loan guarantees for clean tech over the next 18 months.

Combined, the government and private money should keep at least some of the clean tech sector moving ahead. "Despite everything that's happening, clean tech is where investors see future growth," Fan says. That's far better news than a possible GM bankruptcy.

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