Posts tagged “Cello”
What 60 Minutes Got Right
Following the recent 60 Minutes story The Cleantech Crash, Katie Fehrenbacher at Gigaom wrote a very good article called What 60 Minutes got right and wrong in its story on the “cleantech crash”.
In contrast to some who reacted with righteous indignation against the notion of any troubles in the world of cleantech, Katie noted, “60 Minutes got some key things right in the story”, notably that cleantech HAS crashed from a venture capital (VC) perspective.
Cleantech often requires much longer time horizons and higher capital expenditures before a VC has a chance of seeing a return on the investment. And as I have explained in the past, you can’t really afford to have a 10 percent success rate if that entails building 10 capital intensive biofuel plants before achieving success. It’s a very different model than a couple of guys starting an Internet company in their garage. You run out of money pretty quickly when building plants that fail to perform. CONTINUE»
The Art of Spin Politicians are known for their ability to spin any situation to make sure it doesn’t present them in an unfavorable light. In that vein, I’m beginning to feel as if Vinod Khosla would make a fine politician. As much as I am tired of writing about him (and I am sure he long-ago grew tired of me writing about him), his recent response to a Wall Street Journal editorial called The Range Fuels Fiasco warrants its own response. While Khosla does not point a finger directly at me in his response, a number of readers e-mailed or commented on my blog that they believed Khosla was accusing me of misrepresenting his relationship with some of the… Continue»
Update 8-18-10: For those linking in from the earth2tech article on Range Fuels, that inaccurately reflects my comments on Range. My criticism was not that they added methanol to the mix. To the contrary, I think biomass to methanol is a promising, long-term route to biofuels. My criticisms of Range are on the basis of what they promised versus what they are delivering, as documented below. When I first began my career, a wise old-timer gave me a piece of advice that I took to heart. He said “When you are planning and executing a project, it is important for you to do what you say you are going to do. People are going to make investment decisions on the… Continue»
People sometimes ask me how – if they don’t have any particular technical expertise – one determines whether companies are making fraudulent claims. I tell them that the simple test of “If it looks too good to be true…” will work in the vast majority of cases. In the case of Cello Energy, that sniff test could have saved investors some money. Here’s what happened. I haven’t written publicly about Cello Energy, but I have exchanged several e-mails with people about their claims. I have long been on the record stating that I do not think the prospects for commercialization of conventional cellulosic ethanol are very good. Any time I hear people promising to produce renewable fuel for $1/gallon (or… Continue»