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On The Web

This weekend the New York Times profiled a San Francisco-based startup called WaterFX, which is using mirrors to harness the sun’s rays to produce energy to clean water. The company has a $1 million project with the Panoche Water District in Central California to clean dirty water that lies under the surface of a wheat field.

On The Web

Steve Vassallo and Trae Vassallo are among some of the more well-known cleantech and digital energy investors. Thing is, they’re married, are raising three kids, and also work at two different venture capital firms that sometimes compete on deals. Trae works for Kleiner Perkins and Steve for Foundation Capital. This is what it’s like to compete on a deal with your spouse:

“[W]e still laugh about competing over Opower; we had a sneaking suspicion that we were both engaged, based on the mystery trips back East.”

On The Web

Venture capital firm Khosla Ventures already has a long list of startups that it’s backed that are looking to make food more sustainable — like plant-based egg maker Hampton Creek Foods, organic candy company Unreal Candy, salt replacement product Nu-Tek Salt, and plant-based meat replacement startup Sand Hill Foods. But Fasto.co Exist has the details on the Khosla-backed vegan cheese startup Kite Hill, which uses nut milk instead of dairy to make artisanal cheeses.

In Brief

Biofuel startup LS9 has been sold for $40 million to biodiesel maker Renewable Energy Group, reports MIT Tech Review. But before you congratulate them, note that LS9 raised $81 million over nine years, and still hadn’t reached a point where it was selling its green diesel to refiners. Last year the company brought in a new CEO, following restructuring and layoffs. Such are the long roads and harsh conditions facing biofuel startups. LS9 was backed by Khosla Ventures, Flagship Ventures, Lightspeed Ventures, and Chevron Technology Ventures.

On The Web

Some of the largest solar farms in the world that use the sun’s rays to make heat are just now coming online in California — at the same time that the state is suffering one of the worst droughts in five hundred years. MIT Tech Review takes a look at why solar thermal farms are so water intensive, what’s to be done about it, and checks out some of the newer “dry cooling” technologies that are being used to reduce the water needed.

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