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Summary:

Vinod Khosla, who has seeded more than a dozen biofuel startups, can quite comfortably lay claim to the “Baron of Biofuels” title. But apparently his former firm, Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers (where he is still an affiliated partner), is no green spring chicken when it […]

Vinod Khosla, who has seeded more than a dozen biofuel startups, can quite comfortably lay claim to the “Baron of Biofuels” title. But apparently his former firm, Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers (where he is still an affiliated partner), is no green spring chicken when it comes to investing in the stuff, either. The firm has now invested in five biofuel companies, this morning’s Wall Street Journal quotes Kleiner’s Ray Lane as saying.

“We developed a view a long time ago that corn ethanol was not economical,” Lane tells the Journal in an otherwise dry article on venture investing in cleantech. He goes on to say the firm has invested in five biofuels companies, all of them focused on cellulosic production. (Kleiner’s web site currently only lists three of its biofuel investments.)

The first is Los Angeles-based Altra Biofuels, which leverages various kinds of biofuel manufacturing processes, and along with the funding from Kleiner, has raised over $415 million from Khosla Ventures, Angeleno Group, Omninet Private Equity and Sage Capital Partners. The second is Emeryville, Calif.-based Amyris Biotechnologies, which is using synthetic biology to produce a better biofuel and has $90 million from — in addition — to Kleiner, DAG Ventures, Khosla Ventures and TPG Ventures. And the third, Cambridge, Mass.-based Mascoma, is looking to produce biofuels from cellulosic biomass using microorganisms and enzymes, and has raised $39 million from Kleiner, Khosla Ventures, Flagship Ventures, General Catalyst Partners, Vantage Point Venture Partners, Atlas Venture and Pinnacle Ventures.

As you can see, Khosla was also an investor in these three biofuel firms, so Kleiner’s former partner seems to be able to successfully bring it in on the bigger biofuel deals. But we’re particularly interested in seeing to which other two biofuel companies Lane is referring, and if they will follow this trend as well. (We have asked Kleiner for comment and are waiting to hear back).

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By Katie Fehrenbacher

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  1. Green energy is definitely the best solution in most cases. Technology like solar energy, wind power, fuel cells, zaps electric vehicles, EV hybrids, etc have come so far recently. Green energy even costs way less than oil and gas in many cases.

  2. Primer: Brazilian Biofuels « Earth2Tech Wednesday, May 7, 2008

    [...] Santelisa Vale to provide two million tons of sugarcane crushing capacity and a test plant. With $90 million from an impressive list of Sand Hill Road investors — Kleiner, DAG Ventures, Khosla Ventures and TPG Ventures — Amyris is making lucrative [...]

  3. how come nothing is said about the use of methane gas. As a person who is retired, and worked in many of sewage prossing plants thruout Ma,I’ve witnessed the waste of ignighting methane to the atmosphere.This to me is a complete waste. If somehow this methane that is just ignighted and sent to the ozone layer giving no one of it’s potential truly amazes me! Nat gas is methane,the only difference is nat gas has been under the surface for millions of years. Every city,town state in the u.s.a.,people eat to survive on earth.Whenever we eat our body takes the nutrition out of the food and the remainder gos into the toilet as waste, which produces methane,which gives us a choice, harness this byproduct and connect it to the existing nat gas lines thruout the country. It would create more work creating jobs,maintaining the new service, which helps the middle class or say blue collar workers that created this great country,and lessens our dependance on the huge ships loaded with nat gas under pressure that enter our major waterways,that we all know could be a prime target for teroists who hate us.When Germany was at war in ww2 they needed to provide the people with a way to heat and cook there food to survive the war.They converted to the peoples waste to make the populas survive by this method allowing all patroliam to go to the war effort,and it worked.In ma.there was a jail aside a sewage plant (deer Island),they harnessed the methane (or waste from47 citys and communitys) and provided heat and electricty to the jail until it’s ruination for a rebuilding of a larger waste treatment plant that still today burns methane to the atmosphere ,with no benifit to the populas,that still puts everyone at risk for #1terrisiom,#2bottom line greed everybody eats,disposes waste creating more methane that they have to charge us for,when were loosing more energy potential than all the windmills that they could put on this beautiful country we have,or do nothing and let the oil compans have there way as today and take the greed rather to help this u.s.of a.,that I love,,,look into it and you’ll see what I’m getting at google methane p.s. pardon the spelling i’m new at this shit,but I hope you’ll check this out,It’s another scam by big oil…w.f.

  4. At last! Someone who feels exactly as I do about methane gas. Residential sewage and farm sewage should be kept separate from factory wastes. The sewage should be combined with grass clippings and tree trimmings in anaerobic digesters to produce methane gas, which would then be compressed like LPG and used to run electric power plants.
    The technology is there. Why aren’t we using it? Ram Bux Singh in India developed the anerobic digester back in the 60s or 70s. A large hog farm (in Africa?) runs off self-produced methane gas. A man in England developed a carburator to run cars off methane gas or LPG; he used it on his own truck, and he manufactured these carburators and sold them by mail order. This also was way back during our first gasolene crisis. Not recycling shit to make methane gas, yet wasting food like corn to make ethanol is so wrong-headed!

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