May 14, 2007 6:40 PM PDT

Matching American money with Swedish green tech

The United States is looking toward Sweden for so-called green technology.

President Bush is scheduled to meet with Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt on Tuesday morning to discuss, among other things, green tech and cooperation between the two countries.

But the meeting between Reinfeldt and Bush is hardly the first time officials of the two countries will have met to discuss green tech. In fact, on a recent trip to Silicon Valley, Michael Wood, the U.S. ambassador to Sweden, pitched 30 Swedish green tech companies to 18 venture capitalists during a meeting at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif.

In an interview with CNET News.com, Wood said Bush and Reinfeldt are expected to discuss creating an alternative energy program that will involve collaboration among universities, researchers and businesses.

The Swedish companies Woods was discussing with the Valley's money community were looking for so-called early stage investment from American venture capitalists, who in recent months have been aggressively investing in green tech companies. Among the venture firms at the meeting was Sequoia Capital, which has not yet made alternative-energy investments (at least publicly known ones so far).

Also at the meeting was VantagePoint Venture Partners, which made eight investments in clean tech companies last year. Two of them were in Europe--Chemrec in Sweden and Solar Century in the U.K. VantagePoint is partnering Chemrec together with Volvo Trucks in Sweden.

The Chemrec investment was made three months ago. "We have some milestones to meet in the next year but this company is much further along than any other company in this field," said Bernie Bulkin, a VantagePoint partner and chairman of the board at Chemrec.

"These are early-stage investors. They want to get in and then they want to get out in three to five years," Wood said. What's more, he said, they want to see if the Swedish companies can see beyond their own borders and recognize the global opportunity.

Chemrec may be one of those companies. It had developed a technique to make biofuels out of so called black liquor--the waste products from trees when producing paper and pulp. Only 50 percent of the tree winds up as pulp and paper and the other half is a waste product that's sometimes burned relatively inefficiently to provide electricity.

Chemrec already has a plant at a pulp mill in North Carolina and a smaller, demonstration plant in northern Sweden. Company officials hope refining of the black liquor can cover up to 25 percent of the fuel used in Swedish road transportation.

"There is a lot we can learn from the Swedes," Wood said. Comparing the venture with two of the biggest Swedish inventions, the seatbelt and the catalytic converter, he added: "What I'm hoping is that there is a seatbelt of renewable energy embedded in the list of 30 companies."

See more CNET content tagged:
green tech, Sweden, Swedish company, technology company, investment

5 comments

Join the conversation!
Add your comment
Sigh,
Yeh, let's start emulating Sweden. Why is it always novel that one can make a fuel from a tree, bush, plant or grass? This is not new!!! People have been doing this for millenniums. If anyone was serious about having a cheap, renewable energy souce, they would find a way to market fuel from grass clippings. Rice? Have you checked the price lately? Corn? Corn sells for well over $2.00 a bushel. Last I checked, it took over a bushel of corn to make a gallon of ethanol. Why can't we use a cheaper plant. They all make ethanol. The process is essentially the same. Let's use something we can all get behind, renewable and cheap. Why the expensive, nutrient depleting alternatives?
Posted by suyts (824 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Don't sigh, and see the positive side of it
While it's well-known that ethanol can be extracted from other sources, this is not the point here. What Sweden use as source is due to the fact that this is a waste mass from another industry, trying to utilize what already is, not something to be planted. So, Sweden just shares what it does.

I'm sure both parties are aware of that both have the technical know-how, but also that Sweden is the country in this case that have taken this know-how to task by actually utilizing this know-how to to deal with an existing problem. In this case to the point where it also makes sense economically and not only ideologically.

And it's here where the song and dance for Papa US comes in, since it takes cash to get serious, cash that can be grown. As such, Sweden is on the path to solve its environmental problem, and US Investors add a bit to their ts bank accounts.

In best case scenario the initiative creates a trend, and potential for a new market might emerge with a conceptual philosophy that can be translated into a number of other already existing areas. Repeat cycle, make money.

Because you know it's always about the bottom line.
Posted by be_free (11 comments )
Link Flag
Need money? Find a crooked politician.
Those Swedish people could have started by going to banks and big companies and lots of places besides Bush. Bush is known for having a few arms
twisted(torture) and ordering taxpayer money being spent on questionable projects. It is this type of person those Swedish people need to get the money- make the American taxpayer pay for most of it. Pay Bush some money- the $2 a gallon
is covered by taxpayer money, leaving the Swedish investors with $2 a gallon profit. Maybe more- under Bush there has been billions paid to some companies that have only cashed the checks.
Maybe the Swedish are trying to get some of that kind of money. George W Bush is a good person to ask, if you pay him enough.
Posted by bobbydi (51 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Hey, what kind of trees are they?
Aren't some of our trees bad today? We'd better check it out and make sure that we don't have to plant the bad ones. lol
Posted by suyts (824 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

Join the conversation

Add your comment

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Click here to review our Terms of Use.

What's Hot

Discussions

Shared

RSS Feeds

Add headlines from CNET News to your homepage or feedreader.