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Cleantech gets big bucks for alternative energy ideas

Green doesn’t have to mean weird. That’s the mantra of a growing number of venture capitalists in the growing “clean energy” market.

They would call it “cleantech,” emphasizing the non-dirty aspects of their pursuits, which include exploring new technologies in batteries and fuel cells, solar power, pollution control, recycling, water use and power, and farming.

The New York Times, quoting the National Venture Capital Association, has reported that the amount of money invested in just 30 “cleantech” companies so far this year is US$379 million. That’s a lot of greenbacks chasing after green technology.

Most people think of green or cleantech these days as biofuels and solar power, without much in between. They’re aiming to change that, along with the future direction of consumption, by raising awareness of their causes and the shortcomings of the world markets that they are trying to address. All kinds of different sustainable energies are on the table, including more “traditional” sources like wind and water. Those kinds of power meet the cleantech label because they don’t spew the noxious fumes that coal and gasoline do. Solar power, naturally, is also a big favorite, with more and more proponents and adherents every year.

As the world population continues to grow and the need for power, food, and water continues to explode, efforts by these and other folks will continue to be more and more relevant.

Bottom line: Clean and green isn’t just for nuts anymore.

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