An Australian venture capital funds manager that invests in the development of clean technologies has drawn on capital from VicSuper and the Federal Government to launch a $50 million ‘cleantech’ fund.

Cleantech Ventures released the Cleantech Australia Fund (CAF) in late June, which will invest in companies developing clean technology applications in the energy, water, advanced materials and recycling sectors. The fund is comprised of $30 million from VicSuper and $20 million from the third round of allocations dealt by the Federal Government’s Innovation Investment Fund. ‘Cleantech’ technologies, which include biofuels and cleaner fossil fuel, water purification, and pollution reduction processes are built to generate commercial returns while addressing prevalent environmental concerns such as climate change and water scarcity. In a statement, Bob Welsh, chief executive of the $5.8 billion VicSuper, said the “commercialisation of clean technology will be an area of significant growth” and would play a pivotal role in overcoming current sustainability issues. Jan Dekker and Andrew Pickering, Cleantech Ventures principals, promoted clean technologies as “the next and necessary wave of venture innovation in a natural resource-constrained world”. Cleantech Ventures currently manages a fund on behalf of the Centre for Energy and Greenhouse Technologies, a pre-seed and seed fund investing in sustainable energy companies whose technologies are in development and demonstration stages. Companies that are currently in Cleantech’s portfolio include: Oceanlinx, a nearshore wave energy converter; Viva Blu, which is commercialising a water purification method that opposes the use of chemicals and aims to use less energy than those of its competitors; and Agrilink, whose water-saving devices include sensors that aim to prevent excessive watering of crops, turf and plants. Cleantech Ventures is seeking initial investments to be placed in CAF.

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