Green energy as a commodity?

These are strange times for the alternative fuels industry.

Feedstock prices remain at an all time high.  Theft is a problem for most. Margins remain tight, even though from a credits perspective all the planets have temporarily aligned in favor of alternative fuels.

Those of us at Promethean have been working on understanding the set of things we are good at doing, and the set of things that we need to improve upon. Ours is an interesting industry in that what began as a boutique approach to making fuel is quickly transforming into a commodity business. It is an oddity to think that the higher form recycling we do everyday may soon be similar to industries like paper and scrap metal recycling. In those markets, brand differentiators are difficult to articulate, especially when the bars in fuel production are minimally set in terms of achieving the ASTM standard.  Many consider BQ 9000 to be the current differentiator between top tier producers, but ultimately the quality controls supported by this program will be adopted by most out of necessity if they are to survive, even if they do not pay a third-party auditor to confirm the existence of an active program.

We do have loyalists that visit us.  In many cases they are committed to B100 and a petroleum independent world, where those who drive can do so knowing that they have converted waste to energy. So are we. We also understand that to be truly sustainable we must not only be able to supply consistent fuel quality and quantities, as well as identifying and formulating products that serve a higher purpose for our feedstocks and byproducts.

Green energy as a commodity. It may sound horrible to some. The tone and tenor of the thought makes me uncomfortable as well. But there is a magic in the achievement, as any sufficiently advanced technology will appear to the unenlightened or lay person. We must pursue this sort of product anonymity and make it part of the common reality. True success in our business means that our products will enjoy a similar anonymity to their petroleum-based counterparts. They may be fundamentally different from petroleum products in the molecular sense, but in functionality they need to ultimately be superior, and lest we forget, price competitive.

Make it a better place!


Collective Biodiesel Conference 2011

I will be participating in a Collective Biofuels Conference this summer on Vancouver Island and Jessy Bradish, one of the conference organizers, requested that I pass along the details. If you believe anyone you know might be interested in attending please spread the word. I would really appreciate it!

The conference lasts a weekend and consists of workshops about biofuels, with a focus on sustainable biodiesel production and community case studies.

Several  industry stars have been recruited to speak and present, including Lyle Estill of Piedmont Biofuels and Josh Tickell, the director FUEL. You can see the full lineup on the CBC website.

Feel free to email with questions, and please pass this along to your contacts!

More information about the conference can be found below.

Make it a better place!


Collective Biofuels Conference
Fri, Aug 05 to Sun, Aug 07
Queen Margaret’s School, Duncan, BC, CA
Keywords: biofuel, biodiesel, biodiesel processing, biodiesel production, straight vegetable oil, ethanol, jatropha, algae, energy, advanced biofuels, sustainable energy, alternative energy, biomass, Vancouver Island, Canada, British Columbia, Duncan, Cowichan Vall
The Collective Biofuels Conference brings renewable energy experts, enthusiasts and interested beginners together to discuss all things biofuels, with a focus on biodiesel.

This year’s Collective Biofuels Conference features 20 workshops on sustainable community-scale biofuels – from grass-root…