Optimistic Realism in Commercializing Biofuels
by Robert J. Johnsen (AOL Energy) The theme of this year’s recent Advanced Biofuels Leadership Conference was “Go Big, Stay Strong,” an allusion to the move of biofuels out of the lab and into commercialization.
But the theme emerging from the remarks of the more than 100 biofuel executives who spoke at the conference was that biofuel companies should execute this “go big” strategy in carefully considered steps rather than in giant leaps and that the key to staying strong is to hedge their bets at every opportunity, including by increasing the range of feedstock, product and financing options.
In other words, although the mood was one of optimism due to macro trends such as the rising price of oil and the increased energy demand from developing countries like China and India, that optimism has to be tempered with a cautious realism that is cognizant of the pitfalls attendant to bringing new technologies out of the lab and into production, including moving too fast. READ MORE