Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium: April 2012 – GreenWatt (www.greenwatt.be), established in 2004 as a spin-off of the Université catholique de Louvain (UCL), designs, develops and commercializes locally integrated turn-key biogas installations for the agro-food industry. The biogas can be used as fuel in combined heat/power engines (cogeneration) or can be upgraded to natural gas quality bio-methane for injection in the grid.
Successful technology transfer.
GreenWatt has developed and brought to the market a unique technology originated from the UCL Laboratory of Bioengineering headed by Professor P. Gérin. With the early support of VIVES – Louvain Technology Fund and Start up (Nivelinvest), the young innovative company succeeded in demonstrating the proof-of-concept of the technology with the construction in 2007 of a first multi-stage biogas pilot plant at Ferme de L’Hosté in Wavre, Belgium. In 2009, GreenWatt inaugurated in Nivelles, Belgium, its first industrial biogas plant, acquired by the largest endives producer in Wallonia. In 2011, GreenWatt completed its first international project, a biogas plant in Moissac, France and decided to open a subsidiary in France. Today, GreenWatt is simultaneously working on the construction of 4 biogas plants in France and has a promising pipeline of projects at the engineering study phase.
From the idea to the market: a “hands-with” investment approach.
Since 2006, VIVES – Louvain Technology Fund took an active role in implementing corporate governance practices and in guiding the development of value creation strategies. VIVES brought its technology knowledge and extensive business network to support early growth.
Belgian spin-off attracting blue chip private investors.
With this capital round, GreenWatt has been able to attract new, financially strong and strategic investors, being GIMV Agri+ (a joint fund created by GIMV and the Boerenbond Agri Investment Fund), RWE Innogy Venture (a VC fund controlled by the German power company RWE) and SRIW (the Walloon region public fund) while existing investors VIVES, Nivelinvest and private shareholders committed further support to the growth of the company. Adding GIMV Agri+ and RWE Innogy as investors is a significant milestone in the establishment of GreenWatt as a trend setting player in the waste-to-energy industry. The EUR 6 million capital increase will accelerate GreenWatt’s deployment in Europe but also support GreenWatt’ strive to create a strong presence in South America.
About VIVES – Louvain Technology Fund and SOPARTEC
VIVES-Louvain Technology Fund is a multi-sectorial technology investment fund that invests in spin-offs of Université catholique de Louvain (UCL) as well as start-ups in Belgium and neighboring countries. The objective of the fund is to invest in the development of start-ups, from technological validation through to commercial maturity. The funds (VIVES 1 of EUR 15 mio and VIVES 2 of EUR 43mio) are managed by SOPARTEC, the technology transfer company of the Université catholique de Louvain (UCL).
Through Louvain Technology Transfer Office (LTTO), SOPARTEC and the University´s Research Administration (ADRE) are in charge of the overall technology transfer process. This covers the financing of research contracts, the identification of inventions within the laboratories, the protection and management of intellectual property,the technological maturation and the commercialization (through licensing and/or spin-off). More specifically, SOPARTEC coordinates the management of licensing agreements and the technological maturation of UCL spin-offs. More than 50 spin-offs, which today generate more than 3,000 jobs, have been created in whole or part from the results of research conducted at the UCL. These include Ion Beam Application (IBA), I.R.I.S. Group, IbT, Telemis, Alterface, Cissoid, Viridaxis, Promethera, Greenwatt, etc.