Solazyme and Gevo Inc. Part Of Pentagon Effort To Switch To Biofuels
by Marcus Stern (Reuters) * Republicans call green fleet program too expensive * Pentagon says biofuels costs will drop
Two companies involved on the ground level of an expensive Pentagon effort to embrace biofuels have used familiar strategies in building their profiles in Washington, using hefty campaign contributions and aggressive lobbying to secure support.
One company, Solazyme Inc, a subcontractor on a $12 million alternative fuels contract from the Navy, also has raised its Washington profile by hiring as strategic advisers former senior Clinton administration officials with close ties to the Pentagon or Department of Energy, according to corporate records.
…The Navy is paying $26 a gallon for the fuel it is using to test its “green fleet” concept. The prime contractor is Dynamic Fuels, a Louisiana-based company that is a joint venture of Arkansas-based Tyson Foods and Oklahoma-based Syntroleum Corp. Solazyme, which makes its biofuel from algae, is a subcontractor. Dynamic Fuels makes some of it fuel from animal fats.
The Air Force is paying Gevo $59 per gallon. Gevo makes its fuel by converting sugar into isobutanol.
Proponents of the program – as well as the Pentagon – argue that costs per gallon will dramatically drop after production ramps up and will eventually be competitive with fossil fuels.
…Jonathan Wolfson, chief executive officer of Solazyme, said the company needs a strong Washington presence to counter the entrenched interests of rivals, including the oil industry. Shareholders of the publicly traded company deserve to know about legislative and administrative developments in Washington that might affect biofuels, Wolfson said.