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Harris & Harris Group, Inc. Message Board

  • thermo_bea thermo_bea Nov 19, 2008 4:07 PM Flag

    Solazyme

    This was in another post: "2008.11.19 - Solazyme - "We are far beyond proof of concept," said Harrison Dillon, co-founder of Solazyme, [...] said the company is about 24 to 36 months away from hitting its target manufacturing cost of $2 to $3 a gallon, or $40 to $80 a barrel. http://www.mailtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081114/BIZ/811140340

    I ask folks to read the actual article. Solazyme turns wood chips into biofuel. OK, that makes sense - take wood chips and process them via biology to raw oil and then refine it to biodiesel to burn in inefficient ICE engines. Of course you'll have to do extra conditioning of the wood chips before feeding into the process, since other bacteria, fungi, and pathogens would probably wreak havoc on the process. Instead you could take the untreated wood chips and generate electricity via existing plants in order to power electric vehicles. Almost certainly lower lifecycle GHG emissions and certainly lower local pollution.

    Bottom line: There is a better use for Solazyme's feedstock. They'll only survive with subsidies. Other, better algae technologies that don't require treated, high value feedstocks will prevail.

    Next...

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    • And subsidies are very likely under the Obama administration for anything and everything that can make a claim to being "green". Look what he wants to do to the auto companies - force them to produce and you to buy small electric or hydrogen powered cars whether the technology currently exists or not.

      Your arguments also hold for electric cars. The electricity has to come from somewhere - probably from burning more coal which will release more carbon dioxide than burning gasoline. But massive subsidies are going to be available for electric cars anyway.

      • 1 Reply to messnervan
      • You miss the point.

        1) Government will no longer have the luxury of being incredibly stupid and Obama won't want it to be
        2) Solazyme's feedstock will be more efficient from a local pollution and greenhouse gas perspective - with or without carbon mandates or subsidies - used as fuel for electrical generation rather than via Solazyme's expensive process.

        Maybe Solazyme will have another hype cycle or two - I'm sure the VCs will want to dump it on bag holders. But it doesn't make sense with or without subsidies, does it?

 
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