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03/22/2012

The Olive Economy - Biofuels Digest

Article by Jim Lane - March 21, 2012 If the long-term is green, and the present is based on carbon-intense "black" technologies - the near term is going to be shades of olive, and technologies that combine green and black may be the big winners. Today, 5 strategies at the nexus of green and black, exemplars of the Olive Economy A couple of years ago, Sir Richard Branson said , “by 2030, all businesses, that are still businesses, will be green businesses.” Though ZeaChem’s Jim Imbler puts it a little differently, they have a common point of view. “There are lots of ways to be green,” Imbler said, reflecting on the commercial progress at ZeaChem’s integrated biorefinery in Boardman, Oregon, after Itochu announced an investment in his company. Over the years, it’s been Imbler who has reminded the Digest that integrated biorefineries not only have their novel technologies, but have a tremendous amount of traditional, off-the-shelf technologies inside them. Off-the-shelf, he has told me, is a powerful way to make sure a green project is affordable. “If you can make some green,” he says, “you can really be green. You make a difference by selling product. You open a plant, show a margin, that’s what brings project finance and expansion. Green is not completely new and different. Every business, for all time, has needed to find ways to be more efficient, and find better ways to use the resources at hand.” Over the years, it’s been Imbler who has reminded me that integrated biorefineries  generally have about 10 percent novel technology, but are, in their remainder, very much like traditional chemical refineries and have a tremendous amount of traditional, off-the-shelf technologies that are powering them. Read More