General Debate 05/03/11

Mass. company making diesel with sun, water, CO2

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – A Massachusetts biotechnology company says it can produce the fuel that runs Jaguars and jet engines using the same ingredients that make grass grow. Joule Unlimited has invented a genetically-engineered organism that it says simply secretes diesel fuel or ethanol wherever it finds sunlight, water and carbon dioxide.

The Cambridge, Mass.-based company says it can manipulate the organism to produce the renewable fuels on demand at unprecedented rates, and can do it in facilities large and small at costs comparable to the cheapest fossil fuels. What can it mean? No less than “energy independence,” Joule’s web site tells the world, even if the world’s not quite convinced.

“We make some lofty claims, all of which we believe, all which we’ve validated, all of which we’ve shown to investors,” said Joule chief executive Bill Sims. “If we’re half right, this revolutionizes the world’s largest industry, which is the oil and gas industry,” he said. “And if we’re right, there’s no reason why this technology can’t change the world.”

The doing, though, isn’t quite done, and there’s skepticism Joule can live up to its promises. National Renewable Energy Laboratory scientist Philip Pienkos said Joule’s technology is exciting but unproven, and their claims of efficiency are undercut by difficulties they could have just collecting the fuel their organism is producing.

Timothy Donohue, director of the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, says Joule must demonstrate its technology on a broad scale. Perhaps it can work, but “the four letter word that’s the biggest stumbling block is whether it `will’ work,” Donohue said. “There are really good ideas that fail during scale up.” Sims said he knows “there’s always skeptics for breakthrough technologies, and they can ride home on their horse and use their abacus to calculate their checkbook balance,” he said.

Joule was founded in 2007. In the last year, it’s roughly doubled its employees to 70, closed a $30 million second round of private funding in April and added John Podesta, former White House chief of staff under President Bill Clinton, to its board of directors.

The company worked in “stealth mode” for a couple years before it recently began revealing more about what it was doing, including with a patent last year for its production of diesel molecules from its cyanobacterium. This month, it released a peer-reviewed paper it says backs its claims.

Read more- Yahoo News.

12 thoughts on “General Debate 05/03/11

  1. RB, what do you know about Thermal Depolymerization..?

    Seems that it could be viable if (and it’s a big if) energy prices ever pass a certain level…


  2. This is funny ! Watch as some flat-earth no-growth environmental Marxist gets skewered by Irish journalist Ann McEl­hin­ney

    HT Whaleoil


  3. Heh heh, thanks for that Angus. Notice how the brainwashed little twerp has absolutely no answer to the hypocrisy charges.

    Jeremy- I know nothing of ‘Thermal Depolymerization’. But you made me curious. I will look it up.


  4. Their big demonstration of this wonder fuel will no doubt take place in exactly 3 and a half weeks on April 1..


  5. The fuel is simple Diesel…

    I read through their site… They seem serious, the issues I see are:

    – How they will cycle the water throught the system (pump, convection, gravity – it’s not clear)
    – How the diesel and water is seperated (I’m guessing this is really hard)
    – Whether the enzymes production profile will scale up (A system and a lab test when combined are often not as good as their component parts)

    Worth investing in for exclusive Australasian rights RB..?


  6. Sorry for the troll invasion guys. Paul, why don’t you just fuck off back to Keywiblog, where Farrar protects you and all his other pet trolls from the contempt you are due.

    I’m never going to be that desperate for hits that I let fuckwits like you Big Bruv, Bevan Yeswedid and all the other knuckle dragging embarrasingly stupid left wing/ National party supporting dull witted and ignorant trolls destroy discussion on this site.

    Sorry too to the guys who had their messages caught up in the spam filter. One way around it is to do two messages if you wish to include more than one link. The filter automatically stops messages with more than one link. I would turn if off if I could but the spam and the trolls would just destroy the place.


  7. “Worth investing in for exclusive Australasian rights RB..?”

    My Granny is still waiting for a return for the thousands she sunk in to Joh’s water powered car. 🙂


  8. Yeah, just like there are air powered hand tools etc.

    The point with all of these “alternative ” energy soures is they need to have a root source of energy that compares favourably with current energy sources.

    Electric cars (for example) are such a farce, given that they need conventional energy sources to charge their batteries, and conventional energy sources to make the batteries and conventional energy solutions to dispose of the batteries after they have depleted.

    Like Smith and all his crap about landfills. Landfills cost nothing compared to other disposal sources.

    A. Clark Wiseman of Spokane’s Gonzaga University figures that, at the current rate, Americans could put all of the trash generated over the next 1,000 years into a landfill 100 yards high and 35 miles square. Or dig a similar-size hole and plant grass on top after it was filled.

    Recycling, in contrast, costs money. New York City’s mandatory program spends $200 more per ton to collect recyclables than it would cost to bury them, and another $40 per ton to pay a company to process them. Tierney figures the value of the private labor wasted complying with the rules (rinsing, taking off labels, sorting) to be literally hundreds of dollars more per ton.

    Like most such things the zealots only need to claim “THE ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS ARE IMMENSE” and this seems to be enough to stupify Smith et all from ever thinking to do a real cost benefit analysis.


  9. I came across this gem at American Thinker in the comments on an article titled “The Muslim Brotherhood is officially A-OK for the Obama Administration”.

    Posted by: Tel…
    Mar 04, 06:07 PM
    In his zeal to be “the anti-Bush” Obama will set the scene for a holocaust in middle east I don’t say that flippantly. He is clearly one of the biggest bumblers this nation has ever had to endure. He is a product of the academic left and the marxist bubble he’s surrounded himself with since adolescence. A community organizer who’s stock in trade is trouble stirring and agitation filtered through his America humbling/marxist prism. A do-nothing senator and a do-nothing president utterly clueless as to how to govern. He’s surrounded himself with like minded elitist blowhards who truly believe appeasement (mixed with a little anti-Israel sentiment) is what we should have been doing all along. They truly believe there’s nothing wrong with Islam or the Muslim Brotherhood…there’s just been something wrong with us. A president with a backbone and a realistic grasp of the socio-political environment of the region would make it clear to the Egyptian army and people…if the muslim brotherhood is that the table, there will be no support for any new government. It’s not a matter of self-determination, it’s a matter of whether or not Egypt wants a seat in the civilized world, or wants to be another Iran. Just like Egypt has said “no more Mubarak” a real U.S. president would say “no more Islamist states”.


  10. Mawm if Barry really is a Muslin in drag then he might not be as inept as he makes out. Isn’t there a certain ( order? ) of Islamics that believe in the 12th? Imam? . And the 12th? Imam can only return to Earth when the shit hits the fan, all out chaos, thus he will deal to us riff raff. But I guess organising something like this would be giving Barry way to much credit.

    As for the above item. There must be hundreds of examples of alternative energy sources but I have not yet seen any in the shops. Why ? I’m sure the oil companies can’t buy or kill the lot off.


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