Consumer Energy Report is now Energy Trends Insider -- Read More »

Posts tagged “due diligence”

By Robert Rapier on Apr 2, 2013 with 7 responses

Debut of the Wall Street Journal Energy Panel

Last week I made my debut as a contributor to the Wall Street Journal’s (WSJ) new feature The Experts: Journal Reports. The idea is that the WSJ poses questions to the panel, and each panel member provides a response of 300 words or so. The first 4 questions that were asked — and answered — last week were:

  1. Growing oil production has led to predictions that the U.S. could pump more barrels than Saudi Arabia by 2020 and that North American could become a net exporter at a later date. What does this mean for energy markets and geopolitics? (My answer)
  2. Should the government be financing new-energy technologies? (My answer)
  3. Should there be a price on carbon emissions, and if so, what’s the best way to do it? (My answer)
  4. What technological breakthrough is most likely in the next 10 years that could completely change the energy equation as we now see it? (My answer)


By Robert Rapier on Nov 30, 2011 with 5 responses

R-Squared Energy TV: Episode 3 – Joule Unlimited, Due Diligence, Politicians on Energy

This week’s episode of R-Squared Energy TV considers the following viewer questions: What do you think about the company Joule Unlimited? Who are the best politicians on energy policy? Who are the worst? In this episode I explain the single-most important question to ask when conducting due diligence on a renewable energy company. I will also discuss why Republicans and Democrats each only get half of the picture right when it comes to energy policy. Two notes on the video. I did make a misstatement at about the 4:25 mark when I said “the importance of getting off energy.” I meant to say “oil” and not energy. Also, when I was mentioning politicians who are knowledgeable about our energy predicament,… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Jun 14, 2011 with 53 responses

Q&A With Virent CTO Randy Cortright

In the previous essay, I discussed the National Advanced Biofuels Consortium (NABC) and the recently announced success of Virent Energy Systems (Virent), a member of the consortium. In this essay I try to dig into the process details a bit more with a series of technical exchanges with Virent Founder and CTO Randy Cortright. My questions are denoted as RR and his responses are in blue as RC. I began by asking Dr. Cortright to confirm my understanding of Virent’s process. RR: Let me make sure I am clear on the process. You take cellulosic biomass and hydrolyze that to sugars. You hydrogenate those sugars and put them through your aqueous reformer. The reformer output consists of ketones, acids, aldehydes,… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Feb 21, 2011 with 24 responses

Due Diligence: How to Evaluate a Renewable Energy Technology

Doing Due Diligence To people who follow the energy industry closely, it’s a common occurrence to come across announcements from companies proclaiming to have developed the key to the ‘next big thing’ — for solving the world’s energy crisis. Maybe they say they can take any sort of waste biomass and turn it into fuel — ethanol, diesel, pyrolysis oil, mixed alcohols — at very low cost. Or they say they can produce renewable electricity at a price competitive with coal. The layperson reads the news release and is curious: “Is this real?” When I am asked to comment on a press release, I try to be cautious with my opinions until I have peeled the onion a bit. There… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Aug 23, 2009 with 1 response

Another Journalist Fails Due Diligence 101

I have had a number of people ask me about the E-Fuel MicroFueler, so at one point I did a bit of investigating. It is essentially a small still, but apparently has a fermentation capability if the feedstock contains sugar. However, they stress that it works best with wastes that contain alcohols (which a still would simply clean up) and they say in their FAQ that “under most circumstances consumers will contract with their dealer to service the MicroFueler and maintain a regular delivery and supply of feedstock.” What that means to me is that they will send you spoiled beer or wine, and the person who failed Economics 101 and bought one of these can then use electricity to… Continue»