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06/19/2009 12:00 PM     print story email story  

Weekly Investor Round Up

SustainableBusiness.com News

Britain-based Riversimple unveiled a prototype, two-seat hydrogen powered car that the company says achieves the equivalent of 360 miles per gallon and a top speed of 50 miles per hour. The company intends to lease the vehicles for around $315 per month, including refueling. The vehicles employs a 6kW fuel cell made by China's Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies. Riversimple said the vehicle will be commercialized internationally using an "open-source" production model inspired by the software industry.

The U. S. Department of Energy's (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) announced partnerships with 13 small solar businesses through its PV Technology Pre-Incubator program. The awards were given to companies that are believed to have the capability to enter the market by 2012 with projected manufacturing costs of less than $1 per watt. Recipients include Ascent Solar Technologies, 1366 Technologies and SpectraWatt. 

LG Display (NYSE: LPL), a manufacturer of flat-screen displays, announced plans to focus its R&D capabilities into thin-film solar cells. The company plans to invest the equivalent of about $40 million to build a pilot production line in South Korea later this year. And like solar companies around the globe, LG Display hopes to lower manufacturing costs to less than $1 per watt.

Mainstream Renewable Power announced the acquisition of a portfolio of wind farm projects in the State of Illinois with a potential capacity of 787 megawatts (MW). Local wind farm developer FPC Services sold the portfolio, which is comprised of three separate projects at various stages of development. The first project is expected to begin construction next year. Mainstream is a company started by Eddie O'Connor, who also founded Airtricity, which was acquired by Scottish and Southern Energy in 2008.

Engineering company M+W Zander announced that it has completed construction of a new solar cell manufacturing facility for Q-Cells (QCE.DE) in Malaysia. Q-Cells is already the world's largest solar cell manufacturer and this new facility has eight production lines with an astounding output capacity of 500 MW. Q-Cells did not say when production at the facility would begin.

Atlanta, Georgia-based EnerTech Environmental commissioned its first biosolids-to-renewable energy facility about 50 miles east of Los Angeles, California. Through a process that combines heat and pressure, the facility will convert household sewage from five counties into coal-like pellets called E-Fuel. The company says its SlurryCarb process can be applied to other biowaste materials such as manure or pulp wood. The resulting fuel is carbon neutral and can be burned to produce electricity.

Capstone Turbine Corporation (Nasdaq:CPST) announced that its C30 liquid fueled microturbine has been successfully integrated into a Ford (NYSE: F) vehicle. Langford Performance Engineering, headquartered in Wellingborough England, converted a Ford S-Max crossover vehicle into a hybrid plug-in, using the microturbine as an electric range extender. Langford said the vehicle has achieved up to 80 mpg in demonstration testing.

Southern California Edison (NYSE:EIX) has signed agreements with Solar Millennium for  726 MW of solar-thermal power. The contracts call for two 242-MW facilities with the option to expand one of them with an additional 242 MW. The projects would be located in Blythe, California, and Ridgecrest, California, and are expected to come on line in 2013 and 2014. SCE already has contracted for up to 1,300 MW of solar thermal power from BrightSource Energy.

American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP), through its AEP Ohio unit, has signed a 20-year agreement to purchase the output of a 10-MW solar energy facility to be built in Ohio. Wyandot Solar LLC, a subsidiary of Germany's juwi solar will build and own the power plant, which is expected to be operational by mid-summer of 2010. The power purchase agreement is AEP's first for commercial solar energy--though the company has extensive wind power investments.



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