Energy Rage

I was recently in a group in which a majority lambasted Ethanol because:

  1. It ruins the water supply
  2. It's subsidized and that's not fair
  3. It will ruin the land for the future
  4. It pollutes

Interesting points.  However, the same arguments were used to vilify oil and gas companies (still going on of course).  Has the govt not subsidized oil production / refinery manufacturing through the years?  Haven't our own tax dollars been redistributed to a bazillion cockamamie things other than gaining a foothold on energy independence?  Yes.  There is economic realignment happening and yes...there will be some fallout.  Most radical change does this.  Are wind and solar the answer?  Will they happen over time? Yes.  Can they run our cars now? No.  Done.  Chavez bad. Ethanol good.

Next issue:  Nuclear Power. Here's a CNET piece on the looming comeback of Nuclear Energy.
How many people have been helped by Nuclear energy vs. those who've perished?  How many people wouldn't have died and had a more fruitful life and opportunity from this method of power generation?  There's new focus on what to do and how to effectively reuse the by-products of production (nuclear waste). The benefits outweigh the dangers.  Yes I'm OK with one in my back yard.  YIMBY.

Your a Poet...didn't you know it?

The folks at POET (formerly Broin companies and a massive ethanol producer) have begun blogging!  Their site is called Rhapsody in Green and today, they've put up a slide show (via a personal favorite of mine)...that highlights cellulosic ethanol production, etc.

Alternative Fuel Finder Online

The folks at EPIC (Ethanol Producers Information Council) have provided a nifty alternative fuel finder mapping tool. Just put in your city, state, etc. and find stations anywhere in the US.  Mind you, if you get out towards California, you'll be running regular gas. 

Here's a description of EPIC.

The Ethanol Promotion and Information Council (EPIC) is a nonprofit alliance of ethanol industry leaders who have come together to grow consumer demand for ethanol energy through targeted marketing. Our goal is to reach consumers and key influencers across the country and educate them on the performance and environmental benefits of using an ethanol-enriched fuel in their automobiles.

A Gordon Gecko Moment in 2007 by Doug Mitchell

"The point is, ladies and gentleman, that GREEN, for lack of a better word, is good. Green is right, green works. Green clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Green, in all of its forms...has marked the upward surge of mankind."  -- Doug Mitchell, 2007

Green technologies are here and the time is right to build businesses around them.  It's not fringe or fantasy anymore folks, it's a trend...not a bubble.

Embrace it and capture wealth. GOOD.

Key Ethanol Tidbits

Des Moines just got its first e-85 pump in town.  Who'd have thought we didn't have one already close by.  More are on the way.

The Iowa Power Fund is one step closer to reality. This $100 million dollar fund will be established to fund technology developments in the renewable energy space.  Apparently, house and senate versions are pretty similar so things are on track.  I'm not sure if this fund will allow ancillary technologies to be funded but we'll see.

The Midwest as a whole raised $324 million in 43 companies in the first quarter of 2007, a huge increase from $128 million during the first quarter of 2006 and $144 million during the like period in 2005.

Transportation of Ethanol Seen As Key Issue For Future

It seems that the media has been reading my mind or my blog lately.  Here's a great piece that discusses the coming transportation crunch facing biofuel production. Ethanol cannot currently be transported via pipeline since it attracts water leading to corrosion. 

Addressing transportation issue surrounding the future of energy production and distribution as we know critical. 

Biofuel boom side affects

The Business Record here in Des Moines just put out a nice article about the ancillary businesses being started surrounding the biofuel core. 

A handful of businesses have started here recently to support biofuel production, and others are planning to relocate to the area to be closer to their customers and potential employees. In addition, at least one local company is finding a niche market in providing professional services for the state's growing renewable fuels industry.

"The ethanol plants need legal services, risk management services and that sort of thing, and a lot of that work is handled in cities like Des Moines," Shaw said. "You might see new companies offering these services, or companies that already exist are creating new products for this industry."

Yes!  It's not simply the producers of the fuel.  I've already written about the fact that the humans required to run a 100 million gallon ethanol operation are pretty slim.  I've read as little as 13 people can run an operation of that size.

However, it's the 100 loads of corn required per day, the software infrastructure needed, the fuel hauling trucks, tanker cars, logistics planning, consulting, etc. that will explode out the biofuel business growth geometrically. 

This is the key area where Iowa needs to focus its governmental support and leadership.
  The plants will continue to come on line for years to come.  Let's encourage a little Silicon Valley style investment boom and harvest this incredible talent out of U of I and our own little corner of the world we call Ethanol Alley.

Clarifying the Ethanol Picture

Howcellulosicmade585The Des Moines Register is stepping up and providing some real value now in the renewable fuel space.  Take a look at this graphic showing how stover (corn left overs after the juicy sweet edible part is picked off) is used to make ethanol.

Notice NUMBER ONE on the chart. Transportation is a KEY issue mentioned.  I agree 100%.  Limiting the raw materials to within 50 miles of production is a big roadblock.  Bringing efficiency to this piece of the equation is critical and something I'm focused on. 

If one could double the amount of raw materials available by doubling the  region to obtain it with efficiency, one would have a great would think.  Wouldn't one? This ONE does.

What do Algae & Venture Capital Have In Common

They're both very GREEN.  This simple graphic shows the total VC investments in US based companies in 2006 alone.  The NYTIMES article is here.

Shall we keep discussing the price of corn or develop fundable technologies and ideas and capture some of the billions?


Biofuel Funding Continues to Impress...IF...You Don't Pay Attention to the News

4aces I have about 10 blog/news searches automated in my blog reader covering renewable fuels (especially ethanol).  Daily, I'm deluged with articles from around the U.S. concerning the future of the food supply, the lack of available land, the high price of corn, kids starving in Mexico, and the scientific reasons why ethanol and bio diesel are totally inefficient. 

Yet, the industry keeps forging ahead and innovating buoyed by $1.28 billion (with a b) in venture capital investment in 2006 alone.  Cellulosic technology, (making ethanol from anything organic vs. just corn by using enzymes to break down the really tough stuff) is getting funded with BIG dollars now and it's happening right here in Iowa.

In fact the Department of Energy just dump a few hundred million around the US into the technology.  It's also obvious now that some of our friends in other states have figured out that cellulosic ethanol production is good business too.

This is a BIG ISSUE that has BIG IMPLICATIONS for a BIG SEGMENT of the population that costs BIG DOLLAR$ and involves BIG BUSINESS and BIG GOVERNMENT.  However, this big issue's  power is that it transcends the news!  Can you feel that?  No matter what the cadre of news pundits keep spewing,  the cash keeps arriving  as if a John Deere wheel loader kept filling a CAT dump truck scheduling drop offs by the hour.  "$34 million today, where do you want it?" says the operator.  "Just dump it on top of the pile of pundits that got it wrong."

Ethanol and renewable fuels in general have become a reality and it's up to Iowa to maintain leadership in the segment.  Pay no mind to the nay saying punditry (they probably live in LA or NY anyway).  If we do not seize this opportunity, it shall be recorded in history as a FOLD by the state at the world poker table that was holding FOUR ACES.