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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Dead as Latin

Michael Kanellos said the following in his Greentech Innovations Report last week:

"A tour of its portfolio shows it has made some pretty good bets, and also nabbed some major clunkers.

...On the other hand, it also put money into Imperium Renewables, the dead-as-Latin biofuel maker."

Down in the comment field, the CEO of Imperium lambasted him for telling the truth and then gave us his version of reality:

"…[biodiesel is] a real tangible asset that can help drastically reduce our CO2 output of our vehicles."

According to Nobel Laureate Paul Crutzen and his crack international team of researchers, Imperium's version of biodiesel is actually about 70% worse for global warming than regular diesel and that is not counting land displacement impacts! Ah screw the science. Global warming isn't real anyway, right? It's energy independence we are after:

"…we are working on real solutions for our energy needs in this country."

I have two problems with the above statement. First, according to this link, Imperium was one of several biodiesel companies slapped with a tariff for exporting their product to Europe where they could undercut other producers thanks to a loophole that allowed them to take the dollar per gallon blending subsidy even if the fuel is not used domestically. The energy independence argument bandied about by biofuel publicists takes a distant second fiddle to profit.

And second, last time I checked, they were not even using American grown crops to produce it. The canola oil came from Canada, got refined into biodiesel, and was shipped off to Europe. God bless America, energy independence here we come.

Oh, and that is not a picture of the Imperium refinery. It's a picture of Gas Works Park in Seattle, just a few blocks from my house. These are the rusting remains of yet another energy technology that pressurized coal and piped the resultant gases throughout the city for heating and lighting, which is the very same technology being proposed by the "Clean Coal" advocates--nothing new under the sun. The pipe from that processing plant still protrudes from my basement wall.

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(photo credit Sea Turtle via the Flickr Creative Commons license).

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