Sectors

Big Data Meets Biofuels

27th Dec `13, 08:53 AM in Sectors

The next Big Thing in biofuels has always been just around the corner (the “are we there yet”…

BDMS
Guest Contributor
 

The next Big Thing in biofuels has always been just around the corner (the “are we there yet” refrain never far from the public mind). A recent news story raises my own optimism significantly. So, first the road we have travelled. In the beginning there was ethanol from switchgrass and the like (the beginning after the ethanol from corn policy debacle). Clean energy investors dived into that pool, led largely by Vinod Khosla, who made his money with the famed Kleiner Perkins investment firm. Biochemical methods such as those used with corn have to date proven stubbornly resistant to cost reduction. Then the wonder seed crop that did not compete with food, jatropha, burst into our consciousness. The early excitement produced a review in the prestigious journal Nature. Most recently there has been jet fuel from algae. We discuss below each of these newer developments, including the latest piece of excitement linked above.

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