Sunday, March 26, 2006

The new, new thing circa 2006: Moonshine, er, ethanol.

Sun Microsystems and Microsoft are competitors in the tech world, but two of their founders (and apparently at least one of the founders of Google) appear to be agreeing on at least one thing: It's time to invest in the production of ethanol, a plant derived form of alcohol fuel than can serve as a substitute for gasoline.

There are still questions about whether ethanol is actually worth it in terms of energy returned versus energy invested, and if and when it could be scaled up to be more than a small part of America's fuel supply, but nonetheless, a number of famous tech investors have energy on their radar and are making investments in various alternatives including ethanol, as well as solar and new battery technologies. A healthier addiction.

NY Times: On the Ethanol Bandwagon, Big Names and Big Risks.

Businessweek: Kleiner Perkins Energy Startups Soon to Shine?

Update, UCB study on ethanol:

UCBerkeley: Ethanol can replace gasoline with significant energy savings, comparable impact on greenhouse gases.