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Old 07-15-2009, 07:00 AM   #1
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Thumbs down Big algae biofuel project

http://www.scientificamerican.com/bl...obi-2009-07-14
Quote:
In a bid to take the lead in algae-based biofuels, ExxonMobil will plow $600 million into genome guru Craig Venter's company Synthetic Genomics and plans to construct a pilot facility in San Diego, Calif.
I'm usually skeptical about conspiracy theories, but there is plenty of motive for ExxonMobil to race to the patent and then sit on it (like Chevron with their battery patents), or to bring it to market in a craptastic way that makes everyone decide that it's a terrible idea (like GM 1970s/1980s diesel cars having ruined consumers on the diesel car idea for decades).
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Old 07-15-2009, 07:19 AM   #2
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But why would they sit on it?

It could be a disgustingly huge goldmine for them. Instead of having to rely on market prices for oil they could be making their own fuel! The cost of production is a mere fraction of what oil costs and they could either screw over other companies by always being a little cheaper or they could stay at market price and people will still buy it because it was made here.
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Old 07-15-2009, 07:29 AM   #3
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I don't think this is a technology that could be easily controlled. There are likely too many methods to all be patented by one party. Besides, being carbon neutral would be a huge advantage once CO2 controls get serious.

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or to bring it to market in a craptastic way that makes everyone decide that it's a terrible idea .
That can backfire. There was a wooden windmill maker (forget the name) that was dominant and put out a line of crappy metal windmills to give them a bad name. All they managed to do was establish a lousy reputation for their metal windmills and they went bust. Serves 'em right.
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Old 07-15-2009, 08:04 AM   #4
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But why would they sit on it?
Why does Chevron sit on the battery patent?
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Old 07-15-2009, 08:19 AM   #5
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Why does Chevron sit on the battery patent?
Links? What patent?
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Old 07-15-2009, 08:28 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkjones96 View Post
Links? What patent?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patent_...NiMH_batteries
Excerpts:
Quote:
A few months later, Chevron acquired Texaco. In 2003, Texaco Ovonics Battery Systems was restructured into Cobasys, a 50/50 joint venture between Chevron and Energy Conversion Devices (ECD) Ovonics.

Chevron also maintains veto power over any sale or licensing of NiMH technology.

Boschert concludes that "it's possible that Cobasys (Chevron) is squelching all access to large NiMH batteries through its control of patent licenses in order to remove a competitor to gasoline. Or it's possible that Cobasys simply wants the market for itself and is waiting for a major automaker to start producing plug-in hybrids or electric vehicles."
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Old 07-15-2009, 08:54 AM   #7
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If I was Cobasys, I'd be doing the same exact thing.

They do supply large NiMH batteries, how is that squelching the market of them?
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Old 07-15-2009, 08:59 AM   #8
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From what I've read, in actuality they refuse to make or sell the batteries to anyone. I wouldn't blame them for wanting to corner the market, but then if they do so and don't sell a product they're squelching it.
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Old 07-15-2009, 09:31 AM   #9
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From their website it looks like they supply batteries for the Saturn Aura hybrid and the Saturn Vue hybrid as well as NiMH batteries for hybrid buses and such.

Hmm... I'll do some good old social engineering to get more answers.
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Old 07-15-2009, 09:33 AM   #10
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The hearsay that I've read could be wrong...I have no reason to believe it deeply. I was just using it as an example. My point was just that ExxonMobil could do something jerky with the project and I hope that they don't.
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