Cleaning the Sky With New Technology

Silicon Valley company captures carbon

By Scott Budman
|  Wednesday, Jul 14, 2010  |  Updated 12:49 PM PDT
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Chances are, you've never heard of Codexis.  But let's clear the air here.  This is a company using Silicon Valley know-how to clean the environment.  And investors are among those reaping the rewards.

Codexis, which trades on the Nasdaq as CDXS, develops biocatalysts, used to treat water and chemical manufacturing.  The company captures carbon, to reduce pollution from coal-fired power plants.  It's not something we think a lot about here in Silicon Valley (and the company is, strangely enough, based in Redwood City), but it's working.  After an early morning upgrade, the recently-public Codexis has seen its shares skyrocket, jumping nearly 20 percent.

It's good news for the green tech sector, which has been bumpy lately.  Yes, Tesla stirred up a lot of good feelings when it went public, but holding onto a hot stock price is tough for any newly public firm, not to mention one without profits.  Silicon Valley neighbor Solyndra withdrew its plans to offer stock, putting a lot of wealthy dreams on hold.  Codexis, too, has bounced around, but is now close to 50 percent above its low point.

The company, along with a Canadian counterpart, is presenting its technology in Washington, DC, today.  Given the bad press energy has gotten lately thanks to BP, it's likely that carbon-cleaning will get a positive reception.  Will that translate into funding?  Even good PR?  It's the kind of thing investors are hoping for, and betting on. 

We'll keep watching.

Scott Budman is fairly carbon-free.  He's on Twitter @scottbudman

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