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Billionaire green entrepreneurs; the sweet Laremo & SF's cleantech competition

Loremo.jpg
The Laremo
Green technology is piping hot right now.

The buzz filled the ballroom at the Cleantech Venture Network conference yesterday in San Francisco

Some 500 people attendees (double the number at the previous conference, or so some people told us) crammed into the room when John Doerr and John Denniston, partners at the respected Silicon Valley venture capital firm, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, gave their talk about the pressing need for new technologies and policies to save the planet from pollution and global warming.

They presented a bunch of worrying slides (which we will post here, if we can get our hands on them), including pictures of the entire SF Bay Area sitting under water -- to show what would happen if global warming melts away Greenland entirely -- which would lead to a 20ft rise in ocean levels.

Their solutions:

I. Policy
a) namely a carbon emissions trading schema, which would let market forces work, and
b) subsidies to kick our oil addiction and
c) incentives to conserve

2. Innovation
a) need efficiency improvements in all kinds of industrial pumps (which use a lot of energy)
b) cleaner transportation

This brings us to the cool slide Doerr showed of the German start-up, Loremo AG. The company has built a super-efficient "Loremo LS" coupe that costs only 11,000 Euro and features a "mind-blowing" 157MPG mileage. It was showed in Geneva earlier this month. (emphasis ours)

So the car is about two times cheaper and three times more fuel-efficient than Toyota Prius hybrid that costs $26,000 and runs only 55 miles on one gallon of gasoline.

The secret is quite simple. The new Loremo LS, which is scheduled for production in 2009, weighs only 450 kilograms (that's about 990 pounds) and is powered by a tiny 20hp 2-cylinder turbodiesel mated with a 5-speed manual transmission. The diesel is powerful enough to provide the car with 160 km/h top speed and it takes about 20 second to accelerate Loremo LS from zero to 100 km/h. Too slow for you? Well, Loremo AG plans to make a sister car, Loremo GT, that will satisfy your need for speed.

Now if all this talk about saving the environment is too touchy feely for you, and all you care about is greenbacks, think about the fortune of Dr. Zhengrong Shi, now apparently the richest Chinese man on mainland China. He took his company, Suntech Power, public on the New York Stock Exchange in December, and is apparently worth about $2.2 billion. It was the biggest tech IPO in 2005. It makes solar cells and panels. So don't tell us this sector hasn't been proven!

Meanwhile, if you're an "green technology" entrepreneur, check out the California Clean Tech Open.

The city of San Francisco is hosting a competition for companies helping the environment, where the winner will receive $100,000 in cash and package of business services, including legal services from Silicon Valley firm Wilson Sonsini, public relations and a year of free office space. Four runner-ups will receive $50,000 as well as the business service package.

There is a Web site here: www.cacleantech.com.

Better get started, because winners will be announced at a final event in Sep. 2006.


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