By Greg Clutter

For the field of green chemistry, 2011 was a year characterized by significant investments. There were several initial public offerings, including filings by Solazyme, Myriant, Gevo, and Geomatica. BioAmber, a Mid-Atlantic Technology, Research & Innovation Center (MATRIC) customer, also filed to raise $150 million to fund construction of new manufacturing plants.

In addition to those IPOs, there were many venture capital deals in 2011 for companies seeking renewable alternatives to fossil fuel based feedstocks. According to the chemical industry group ICIS, there were an anticipated 30 green chemistry venture capital deals averaging around $20 million each. Ernst and Young recently reported $4.9 billion of cleantech venture capital deals in 2011.

These numbers and events are significant because such capital is supercharging a race to further develop alternatives that reduce dependence on fossil fuels.

According to ICIS Outlook ’12 projections, it appears these green chemistry funding trends will continue in one form or the other.

International players such as SABIC and Rhodia have begun funding efforts through venture capital investment companies. At least one new significant venture capital firm, First Green Partners, based in Minnesota, has recently launched.

MATRIC is bullish about 2012 and future growth in green chemistry investments. We believe this industry will continue to account for a significant portion of our expanding, global customer base. MATRIC specializes in performing technology assessments and improvements, providing credible data for decision-making, and helping customers maximize return on their research investments.

Clutter is MATRIC’s chief operating officer.