Monday, January 28, 2008

Startup can produce <$1/Gallon Ethanol from biowaste

A friend sent me this link last night.

Interesting. It is the little guys like Coskata who will come up with the most interesting possibilities, more often than not. Sure, they may be sponsored by GM – they have to fund this research somehow – but they are far from a honking big company doing the research themselves with all of the resources that entails. I *am* kind of surprised how little we hear from/about companies that are sponsored by big oil – you hear more like this, sponsored by a car manufacturer, not an oil company.

The car companies don’t care what they use for fuel – a slight engine redesign, and they can go. They don’t care if this fuel can be easily made at home (in whole or in part) nor if it is made at a large site and distributed to outlets and sold to consumers. All they care about is that they are being seen to be proactive in the search for renewable fuels and that they can use these new fuel sources in their new cars. It is the big oil that needs to ensure that your average home owner cannot make their own renewable fuel – to any serious degree whatsoever – or they will lose the massive monopoly they have over personal travel. They will possibly also lose the mass transport markets as well as someone like Brisbane Airport Corporation may be able to dedicate a number of acres to making a fuel source that can refill the planes that land their daily – and that would really hurt the oil companies.

I’d really like to be a fly on the wall in a few board meetings where big oil is talking about the threat that renewable fuel is posing to their place in society. What interest will America show in the Middle East when they can produce at least 100% of their fuel requirements locally? What power over economies can big oil exert when they are almost irrelevant to most of the world? It is interesting.


The Outspoken Wookie


Chris Knight said...

If you do a bit of digging, you'll find that a lot of the big oil companies have spent a significant amount of money on alternate energy research over the last 25-30 years.
Don't think that they're dinosaurs. They'll utilise current resources until the resources are unviable either economically or politically, and they'll have significant involvement in whatever the primary replacement for oil will be.

HiltonT said...

People also need to realise that no matter what fuel replaces the current oil-based fuels, they will need to get it into their cars somehow, and generally, they won't be able to produce enough (if any) of it at home to last a long trip.

Because of this, there will need to be distribution centers for this new fuel source, and who do you think already has this tied up? That's right, the big oil companies with their fuel station chains.

So, even if other parties step up to the plate and develop a usable, renewable, environmentally friendly (or at least friendlier) fuel, it will still need to get to our vehicles, and the current fuel station model is probably the best way for that to happen.