Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Now, this seems like a promising start

That would be this modest result from Texas A&M.

Brian Wang takes a look:

"Our goal with this technology is to achieve as much as a 2 percent contribution to the nation¿s gasoline demand by 2022 through the building of 200 more bio-refineries," said Benjamin J. Brant, President and Chief Technology Officer of Byogy. "We firmly believe the TEES technology combined with the Byogy team offers this possibility."

Rand Simberg links to a more fulsome article at who notes:

The focus at the initial plant would be on using urban waste, which the plant would grind, sort and then convert into gasoline. The fuel produced by this process could immediately be used as a drop-in substitute to the current petroleum gasoline supplies with a seamless integration into the existing fuel distribution infrastructure. Nothing needs to be changed at retail gas stations, pipelines, regional fuel terminals or in any motor vehicle.

Note that this is not E-85 (or any other percentage) ethanol/gasoline mixture. While that effort also contributes to expanding available fuel supplies, there are unique problems with that particular response that are avoided by this A&M development.

The principles of strategy teach that a multitude of options provide the greatest opportunity for individual advancement over the broadest range of personal circumstance. On the other hand, positional strength is also achieved by eliminating to the greatest extent possible any alternative for a competitor to threaten a position from.

For this reason (among others), positional advancement efforts tend to be cyclic in nature in that they tend to alternate between efforts to consolidate a position (strength through mass) and efforts to diversify positional advancement opportunities (strength through multiple options).

A casual glance at the history of energy and fuel in the US illustrates the broad outlines of this process over the course of the 20th Century. As the current trend towards greater diversity progresses into the 21st Century, we can expect to see further disruption of the societal and economic mechanism's established to accommodate the earlier trend at consolidation (principally to petroleum and coal). With added opportunity comes greater risk; expect social conservatives to form odd alliances in reaction to this last factor.

As ever, determine your own position and measure the risks of advancing it via the available options as you decide is best. In any case, understand that the process is neither immediate nor the outcome obvious.


Al Fin said...

Will, check out Brian Westenhaus' article at on the Byogy technology. He elaborates on the basics very well.

Will Brown said...

I did and, as you say, he does.