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Posts tagged “john benemann”

By Robert Rapier on Oct 29, 2009 with no responses

Interview With an Algae CEO

So I am finally back home for the next 10 days, and slowly catching up. I had a good trip to Panama and then to Stanford. I had my luggage sniffed by dogs when I connected in El Salvador, and then when connecting in LAX Gwen Stefani and her husband walked by within 3 feet of me. I told my wife that I probably could have touched her, but then I might have been delayed by a trip to the L.A. County Jail. I also read Oil on the Brain on the long plane trips, and will soon post a review of that. I will also put up the slides I delivered at Stanford. One of the things I did… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Aug 31, 2009 with no responses

Biofuel Pretenders

Note This article was initially titled “Pretenders, Contenders, and Niches.” However, the section on pretenders grew to the point that I have decided to split the essay up into three parts. The first part, Biofuel Pretenders, will cover many of the current media and political darlings. The second part, Biofuel Contenders, will discuss some options that have received less attention, but in the long term are more likely to have staying power. The final part, Biofuel Niches, will discuss situations in which some of the pretenders might actually work. Reality Begins to Sink In There was an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal this past week: U.S. Biofuel Boom Running on Empty A few pertinent excerpts: The biofuels revolution… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Jul 26, 2009 with no responses

The Gold in the Oceans

There was an announcement this past week that Solix Biofuels has started oil production at a facility in Colorado:Solix Biofuels begins production of oil made from algae Solix Biofuels Inc. said Thursday it has started the production of oil made from algae at its Coyote Gulch Demonstration Facility, with full-scale commercial operation set for late summer. “We are ready to prove to the world the viability of algae as an alternative to petroleum-based fuels,” Solix COO Rich Schoonover said in a statement. Coyote Gulch is located on a two-acre site in the Durango area on land provided by the Southern Ute tribe. Algal oil production began July 16, Solix said. It said Coyote Gulch is expected to produce the equivalent… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Jul 16, 2009 with no responses

The Dominant Fuel in 2030

I just spent a fruitful week in Canada, learning about some of the biomass resources in Alberta. There are some interesting opportunities there for the right technology, and I expect that I will be making future trips up there. One of the questions I was asked this week by one of my new Canadian friends was “Do you believe fossil fuels will still be the dominant power source in 20 years?” Without hesitation, I said “Absolutely.” Others around the table nodded their heads in agreement, and the questioner said “So do I.” It isn’t that this is what we want, but this is how we see it. Government agencies like the EIA see it the same way. While they show… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Jun 24, 2009 with no responses

John Benemann Responds to Green Algae Strategy Review

I recently published a review of Mark Edward’s book Green Algae Strategy: End Oil Imports And Engineer Sustainable Food And Fuel. Following this review, I published a response from Mark Edwards. In that response, Professor Edwards mentioned Dr. John Benemann, who was Principal Investigator and main author of the U.S. DOE Aquatic Species Program (ASP) Close-Out Report: Skeptics abound in the algae space and the leading skeptic, Dr. John Benemann, speaks at all the algae conferences and stands in stark contrast to many other equally experienced scientists who do not share his natural pessimism. John revels in his reputation for pessimism. Other scientists engaged in the Aquatic Species Report have a completely opposite view. Several are working for companies that… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Jun 15, 2009 with no responses

Response to Green Algae Strategy Review

I have received a response from Mark Edwards, auther of Green Algae Strategy: End Oil Imports And Engineer Sustainable Food And Fuel. I reviewed the book here recently, and as I indicated in the conclusion of the review I would gladly post any of Mark’s comments. So, here they are in full. I have added clarifications, such as to indicate when Mark is quoting me [e.g., RR quote]. I have otherwise tried to keep the formatting consistent with what Mark sent me. No further response from me. —————————————– Response to Green Algae Strategy Review Thank you for the review and the opportunity to respond to your thoughtful comments. Your observations are right on target for someone focused on algal oil… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Jun 4, 2009 with no responses

Book Review: Green Algae Strategy

Introduction I love to read. I particularly enjoy books about energy, sustainability, and the environment. One of the benefits of reviewing books is that I end up getting a lot of free books on these topics. One thing about getting free books, though, is that I have to be careful that it doesn’t impact my objectivity. After all, the publisher or author was nice enough to send me this free book. How do I then approach the matter if I sharply disagree with some aspects of the book? I am on record as being very skeptical about the ability of algal biodiesel to scale up and contribute significantly toward liquid energy supplies. Mark Edwards, a Professor of Strategic Marketing and… Continue»