Cleantech Joint Ventures: Chevron Biofuel & IBM Nanotech

joint venturesOil giant Chevron (CVX) and forest products company Weyerhaeuser (WY) today unveiled Catchlight Energy, a 50-50 joint biofuels venture that will focus on developing non-food biofuels using cellulose-based biomass.

The formation of Catchlight follows a letter of intent filed by the two companies a little less than year ago. The partnership is similar to the arrangement announced by ZeaChem earlier this month that will see the company buy poplar trees from GreenWood Resources for cellulosic ethanol production; Catchlight plans to tap into Weyerhaeuser’s timberlands to create biofuel.

Cleantech joint ventures seems to be the business strategy du jour. IBM (IBM) is working with Saudi Arabia to develop nanotechnology for cleantech applications, Cleantech Media reports. Specifically, scientists will be developing technologies in the areas of solar energy, water desalination and petrochemical applications such as recyclable materials. Work will be conducted by Saudi and IBM scientists at the Nanotechnology Centre of Excellence at Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology.

This nanotech center is part Saudia Arabia’s continued efforts to diversify in the face of a carbon-constrained future. King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, at last November’s OPEC summit meeting, helped earmark nearly a billion dollars from OPEC members for carbon capture and sequestration research. The hope is that the research will help “de-carbonize” petrochemicals.