02/07/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Green Investing Slows, Perhaps Marking Shift To New Biofuels

Green tech companies worldwide received a record $8.4 billion in venture capital during the year, according to figures released Tuesday by the Cleantech Group consulting firm. That's a solid 38 percent increase from $6.1 billion in 2007.

But all that growth came in the first three quarters of last year. Spending fell 35 percent between the third and fourth quarters to hit $1.7 billion, the lowest quarterly total in more than a year.

Within alternative fuels, much of the attention has shifted away from first-generation biofuels such as ethanol and biodiesel. Instead, investors are focusing on algae and synthetic biology, tweaking the genes of microorganisms to make them produce fuel.

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