May 11, 2006

MSNBC Dateline: Vinod Khosla on Cellulosic Ethanol

On the same evening as the 60 Minutes broadcast on The Ethanol Solution Dateline NBC was running their own story about ethanol from the point of view of Vinod Khosla - the billionaire venture capitalist who co-founded Sun Microsystems.

Below are some excerpts. For the complete interview and supporting videos, click on the linked title below.


A simple solution to pain at the pump?
Greener and cheaper, ethanol could fuel rural America — and won't feed Mideast terrorism
This report aired Dateline Sunday, May 7
Stone Phillips, Anchor

Pain at the pump is the price of this country’s addiction to oil. Americans are feeling it intensely—outraged over oil company profits, fearful that another hurricane in the gulf, or a terror attack in the Middle East is all it would take to send prices even higher.

But what if there was one solution to all of this? Something that could solve America’s energy crisis, strengthen our national security, and help save the planet at the same time?

Vinod Khosla: I looked, did my research and found this was brain dead simple to do.

He’s talking about a new generation of ethanol— the fuel made from plants. It’s one fuel he says is just around the corner and will deliver 4 to 10 times the energy of today’s corn ethanol. Khosla knows, because he’s talked to top scientists, visited labs and he’s a bio-medical engineer himself. He believes this new ethanol can replace gasoline and eliminate America’s dependence on foreign oil.

And that’s exactly Khosla’s vision for America— putting new generation ethanol plants next to paper mills, turning their leftovers into fuel. Or even next to orange juice factories, where he says ethanol from peels could replace petroleum.

But that’s only part of it. To really make America an ethanol nation, Khosla says billions of gallons will come from something as common as prairie grass. He says it’ll be much cheaper and deliver 10 times the energy it takes to make it.

As for the expense, Khosla estimates it would cost about $15 to 20 million to offer ethanol pumps at a thousand gas stations in California.

Khosla: We need to make sure that the major oil companies don’t manipulate the price of oil enough to drive ethanol out of business.

Phillips: Do you believe oil companies would deliberately drop the price of oil?

Khosla: Absolutely. A senior executive of a major oil company came up to me and said, “Be careful.” In a very warning tone he said, “Be careful, we can drop the price of gasoline.”

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corndog said...

Is it just me, or is Vinod Khosla just a bit too eager to sensationalize?

I find it difficult to believe an oil company executive told him that they could "drop the price of gasoline". Oh really? You, sir, can change the price of crude from $73 to ......what price, sir?

I'm pulling for alternatives, and I'm glad this fellow is putting his money up, but as our spokesperson, we could do better.

C. Scott Miller said...

Are you saying he's "no Ronald Reagan" - spokesman for G.E.? No Steven Jobs? You're right.

The inertia in the California Assembly has been so bad I am convinced it's going to take a "ramrod" to move them. I'm glad he's stepping up - so long as he brings the rest of the committed conversion technology activists with him.

I see you were on camera today in Roanoke. Now you have a demo tape to send to Stone Phillips!

corndog said...

Stone shouldn't feel threatened. Corndog looked like an old dog on camera. I was worried about a 30 second piece, but I think they did it well, and viewers got the correct impression.

The ethanol story is hot, I guess because its promise is to enable people to fight back, if I were a Saudi oil shiek I would begin to pay attention.

C. Scott Miller said...

About the sound bites - isn't it interesting that we hear fewer objections now about agricultural "subsidies" whenever someone touts ethanol as an alternative to gasoline. What a difference a war makes.

Every round of gas hikes is a Pearl Harbor arousing the sleeping American tiger. Let's hope we can keep the tiger awake without a war and more punishing oil prices.

moeman said...

its very easy to drop it.its on the NYMX futures exchange.all they have to do is strt opening short positions and force the longs(hedge funds) to capitulate