Also a few months back, I blogged about Bechtel and the 1,230 megawatt ultra supercritical coal fired power generation station it was building in Wisconsin. Well Bechtel has licked its wounds in the coal fired power plant business. Their losses on the Oak Creek facility in Wisconsin exceeded $445 million, now that their arbitration claim of $517 million with Wisconsin Energy was settled for only $72 million. Bechtel is building an even larger and an even worse polluting coal fired power plant for Peabody Coal in Southern Illinois. This two unit generation station with a total capacity of 1,600 megawatts that Bechtel proudly claims is the largest green-field coal fired power project in the USA in the past 20 years. Instead of building natural gas fired combined cycle power generation stations that emit approximately half the carbon dioxide of these behemoth coal fired plants, Bechtel and Peabody are now supporting old Vinod the VC in his new company called Calera.
Their hope in Calera is that carbon dioxide will rapidly and without much energy input react with “natural water” to produce calcium carbonate. Yeah we have stalactites, stalagmites, and now Calera’s might. My other VC buddy at Draper Fischer lost a bunch in a now bankrupt startup GreenFuel that was trying to produce bio-fuel from the carbon emissions of power plants using algae. DFJ found out the hard way that the laws or thermodynamics are inviolable and the resulting chemical formation employing carbon dioxide as a raw material is slow and expensive. Mother Nature knows the laws of thermodynamics well and that is precisely the reason why the photosynthesis of carbon dioxide is a painfully slow reaction. Vinod, Bechtel, and Peabody think they are collectively smarter than Mother Nature. Combine Bechtel and Peabody and you get BP and you know what I think of that. Add the V for Vinod and we get BVP that stands for Bad Value Proposition. Talking about BP and the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, with costs estimated as high at $13 billion, BP also means Bring Pesos.