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The Australian Cleantech Index inched ahead of the ASX200 in the December quarter, falling only 8.2 per cent compared to the latter’s 9 per cent.

The Small Ords dumped 14 per cent.

The Index, run by Deloitte-owned industry group Australian CleanTech, was dragged down by 15 companies that lost up to 40 per cent of their share price value.

Markets in 2018 were buffeted by a rapid ramp in oil prices early in the year, only for them to fall dramatically at the end, as well as uncertainties around US President Donald Trump’s trade war with China, and a variety of other countries including Russia.

Over the long term however the Index has outperformed the traditional indices.

The Australian Cleantech Index performance over the last four years. Chart: Australian Cleantech

Which stocks are driving the ups, the downs

The Cleantech Index consists of 94 companies spanning energy generation, energy metals, water, air quality, electric vehicles, waste and energy efficiency.

It has a collective market cap of $45 billion.

This quarter the nine biggest movers couldn’t outweigh 15 decliners.

The companies going somewhere were Purifloh (ASX:PO3), high-tech concreter Eden Innovations (ASX:EDE) and, unusually, banana frond textile maker Papyrus Australia (ASX:PPY).

Air purifier Purifloh investors watched their investment rocket after a US billionaire bought in at almost five times the share price.

American businessman Bill Parfet paid $9.6 million for 4 million Purifloh shares at $2.40 a pop.

Eden had to explain a series of dramatic one day share price rises, after winning regulatory accolades and contracts in the US.

And Papyrus didn’t achieve much, outside continuing to build their banana-palm-to-building-materials factory.

The descent was led by Australian Vanadium (ASX:AVL), Bass Metals (ASX:BSM), and Carnegie Clean Energy (ASX:CCE).

The greatest loss in market cap over the quarter was by bathroom products retailer Reece (ASX:REH).

Australian Vanadium and Bass Metals have suffered from the general market declines, with the former dropping in spite of upgrading its Garabintha vanadium resource and the latter making a high grade lithium find just before the December quarter began, affected by lithium oversupply fears.

Carnegie Clean Energy has been trending downwards ever since May, just before the doomed asset sale deal with Tag Pacific (ASX:TAG) was launched.