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Posts tagged “Coskata”

By Robert Rapier on Jul 30, 2012 with 5 responses

Analyzing Coskata’s Major Strategy Shift

In last week’s Energy Trends Insider our featured stories were How to Make Money in Solar as Every Solar Manufacturer Goes Bankrupt, Analyzing Coskata’s Major Strategy Shift, and Rough Road For Biobutanol. As we have done previously, we would like to share one of those stories with regular readers of this column. Interested readers can find more information on the newsletter and subscribe at Energy Trends Insider.

Analyzing Coskata’s Major Strategy Shift

Last week Coskata announced that they were abandoning their planned $100 million IPO along with a fundamental shift in company strategy. No longer will their immediate plans involve the conversion of wood into ethanol, but instead they will focus on natural gas to ethanol. CONTINUE»

By Robert Rapier on Dec 30, 2009 with 1 response

What I Learned This Decade

In this, my last posting of the decade, I thought I would write something profound. Then I realized I don’t really have anything profound to say today, so at the risk of violating Point 9 below, I thought I would summarize some of the things I have learned since starting this blog. I am closing in on the 4th anniversary of R-Squared. This essay is my 895th. Based on recent trends, 2010 should bring the one millionth viewer here as well as the one thousandth essay. I had no high hopes for the blog when I started it. As I told a friend at the time, I looked at it as more like a place to archive some of the… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Oct 8, 2009 with no responses

What Happened to a Buck a Gallon?

Coskata will produce ethanol for under US $1.00 a gallon anywhere in the world, from almost any input material. – Coskata Vision Statement A bit more than a year ago, I read a number of claims from ethanol start-up Coskata stating that they would be able to produce ethanol from cellulose for less than $1.00 a gallon. One thing that is very important to me as an engineer is that you deliver what you say you will deliver – or more. If you deliver less, you lose credibility. If it becomes a habit, you lose all credibility. I am not a fan of hype, and I don’t like my tax dollars funding hype. So when I think someone is overly… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Sep 3, 2009 with no responses

Biofuel Contenders

Introduction I got quite a few interesting e-mails and comments following my previous essay: Biofuel Pretenders. I probably should have mentioned – but I thought it went without saying – that pretenders usually don’t think they are pretenders and will therefore protest mightily at the characterization. A number of people who e-mailed assured me that they have really cracked the code to affordable biofuels, and that we would be hearing more about them soon. Another person who wrote to me about algae said that he has been following algae since 1973, and he wrote “In spite of all the hype and non-stop press releases, no one to my knowledge is producing algae on a commercial basis for biofuel production.” Ultimately,… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Aug 1, 2009 with no responses

Answering Reader Questions 2009: Part 1

Before I took a recent trip to Canada, I opened up the floor for questions. Getting them answered has taken longer than I intended. Fortunately, other readers answered a lot of them in the comments of that thread. So I have sifted through the list, trying to find questions that were still open, or those I wanted to make an additional comment on. Thanks to those who submitted questions, as well as to those who answered them. A special thanks to Kit P., who wrote some extensive answers to some of the questions around electricity and saved me a good deal of work. This is going to take at least three installments. But I have put this off long enough,… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Apr 30, 2009 with no responses

Vinod Khosla at Milken Institute: Part I

Thanks to a reader for bringing this to my attention. Vinod Khosla (VK) just did a lengthy interview at the Milken Institute 2009 Global Conference. The interview was conducted by Elizabeth Corcoran (EC) of Forbes. You can see the video of the interview here: Milken: Khosla on the Shift to Renewable Energy I am going to listen to the interview, transcribe it, and comment on interesting/controversial exchanges. (If a transcript of this interview exists already, I haven’t seen it). I will strive to be as accurate as possible, but may paraphrase lengthy questions and answers. I will also try to provide links to all of the companies VK mentions. Any comments I make will be preceded by “RR” and will… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Mar 12, 2009 with no responses

Coskata on Life Support?

Remember my story Coskata: Dead Man Walking? As I wrote in that essay six months ago: I predict that Coskata’s suggestions that they will produce ethanol for less than $1/gal will look ridiculous in hindsight. The next few years will see a record amount of back-pedaling from most of the companies trying to establish a foothold in this space – and overpromising on their technology to do so. Well, at the Wall Street Journal ECO:nomics Conference last week, Coskata CEO Bill Roe indicated that the company is having (recession-induced) troubles. Marc Gunther has the story: GM’s woes: Bad news for clean energy Talk to a banker and “all you get is a smile and a pat on the head,” Roe… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Aug 25, 2008 with no responses

Tying Up Loose Ends on Coskata

While I am a skeptic by nature, I am a problem-solver as well. I always ask the people around me – and I try to practice this at all times – if you come across a problem, or envision that you will have a problem, try to envision a solution as well. Otherwise, you have simply created an obstacle. This is important in my current job, as we have commercialized a technology that had never been commercialized before. It’s sort of like chess: Envision where you are going, the potential problems as you make your journey, and how you will cope with that. The more contingencies you have planned for, the higher your chances of success. These are principles I… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Aug 21, 2008 with 1 response

Coskata Due Diligence

I hadn’t intended to spend the entire week talking about Coskata, but that’s the way things are shaping up. After Monday’s essay in which I expressed strong skepticism that Coskata could deliver, I received a number of e-mails and phone calls, and the essay received quite a few visitors. The story was picked up and reported via several outlets. People are certainly interested in the Coskata story, and they want to know whether the emperor has clothes. I had stated that based on my analysis of some of the published numbers, the emperor has no clothes, and this raised a number of eyebrows. Some of the raised eyebrows were within Coskata. Following that essay I was contacted by Wes Bolsen,… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Aug 20, 2008 with no responses

Conversation with Coskata

Sometimes the ‘dead man walking‘ has been falsely convicted, and sometimes he receives a stay of execution. Since I would never want to unfairly convict someone, I had a long and detailed conversation this morning with Wes Bolsen, the Chief Marketing Officer & Vice President of Coskata. Wes was offering up additional evidence to show that my conclusion that Coskata would not be economically viable was incorrect. He was quite open, and gave me quite a bit of useful information. I will say this. Wes knows his material. I learned an awful lot about their process that I have not seen publicly disclosed anywhere, and since (almost) everything was on the record, I will disclose it. However, there are a… Continue»