Saturday, December 3, 2011

Another Bloody Week

The stock market was up this week and the central banks have stepped in to help Europe, so you would think the Green Machine would have nothing to be blue about. If you believe the fantasy that Europe’s economic woes are solved you are bloody mistaken. This is just another band aid on the cancer patient. I do hope all the band aids do stop the blood from gushing out of the patient, but we need to get Europe healthy again.

The Europeans have finally realized that paying a fortune for green energy was bankrupting them and they simply cannot afford the prices and subsidies they have been giving for green electricity. Our department of entropy has also slowed down its bleed rate and less bloody nonsense is being subsidized by the driver of the Chu Chu train. One company getting loan guarantees and grants from the Feds has the name of a precious jewel. It is a San Diego California company named Sapphire Energy. Now that the DOE is in hot water for its green energy loans a new department of government has stepped forward to help pay for expensive gems. This department is the USDA (Agriculture) and the following was reported on November 15, 2011.

Erin Voegele, Biorefining Magazine
The USDA announced this month that it had issued a loan guarantee to Sapphire Energy Inc. The guarantee will support the development of Sapphire Energy’s demonstration-scale algae production facility in New Mexico, which will produce “green crude” oil from algae that can be refined into transportation fuel.
“The Obama Administration is committed to providing support for renewable energy production, which will safeguard national security and create jobs in rural America,” said Agricultural Secretary Tom Vilsack. “This project represents another step in the effort to assist the nation's advanced biofuel industry produce energy in commercial quantities from sustainable rural resources.”
Sapphire Energy is constructing a $135 million integrated algal biorefinery (IABR) in Columbus, N.M. According to the USDA, the IABR will be capable of producing 100 barrels of refined algal oil per day, equivalent to at least 1 million gallons per year. The oil will be shipped to the Gulf Coast, where it will be refined into drop-in biofuels by Geismar, La.-based Dynamic Fuels.
According to Tim Zenk, Sapphire Energy’s vice president of corporate affairs, his company has been working to finalize the loan guarantee since late 2009. The $135 million project is under development using a $50 million federal grant, the recently finalized $54.5 million loan guarantee and $30 million matching funds contributed by Sapphire Energy.
Construction on the first phase of the project began in June, Zenk said. “The project will be built in three distinct phases,” he said. The first portion of the project will include 100 acres of algae cultivation. “We’ll do everything from cultivation to harvest and extraction,” Zenk said. “Then the oil will be refined in a typical refinery into diesel and jet fuel. At full capacity, once all three phases are built over the next three years, we’ll be producing a million gallons of jet and a million gallons of diesel per year.” The final stage of the project is scheduled to be operational by 2015.

This is utter bloody nonsense as Simon of the X Factor would say. $135 million invested for a million gallons a year of bio-diesel. The government and industry do have to return money and do have to return it fairly fast if lasting and meaningful jobs are to be created. If the whole bloody investment of $135 million is paid back in 5 years this equals $27 per gallon of bio-diesel just for capital recovery. The operating cost for labor, water, power, maintenance, insurance, etc. has to be at least another $3 per gallon so the Sapphire gemlike bio-fuel is at least $26 a gallon more expensive than plain diesel with diesel costing $4 a gallon. OK 100 gallons of bio-diesel save a ton of CO2 emissions and now our Sapphire is costing us $2,600 per ton of avoided CO2 emissions. With Europe almost in bankruptcy their carbon credits are trading for around $15 a ton and that truly is what reduced carbon dioxide emissions are worth.

I am a little lost why the name Sapphire was chosen if this gem is blue. Emerald Energy is at least green in color and would have been a more appropriate name for this collection of bio fools. I am singing the blues about the funding of this “pond scum” company. Petro-Sun announced a similar project in 2006 and now they trade on the pink sheets for a penny, yes one bloody single cent a share. Shell Oil gave up on their pond scum company Cellana as it was a dead end. GreenFuel Technologies, another algae to fuel company, came and went. Perhaps the Secretary of Agriculture was asked to take some of the heat off of the Secretary of Entropy and hence expensive Sapphires were bought by the USDA. Perhaps renaming the USDA to the Uncle Sam Dreams of Algae is a fitting department name for this waste of funds and tax payers’ dollars.


  1. Europe spends about 3 billion euros a year on renewable energy so to say that this spending is the cause of Europe's problems is patently absurd when you consider the financial crisis in 2008 caused the European banks to write down over 2.7 trillion euros because they bought also bought into the absurd notion securitizing lousy mortgages by a 35:1 ratio would work just because the ratings corput ratings agencies rated all that garbage as AAA investments.

    Europe is far ahead of America in use of wind power and solar energy and it's one of the few bright spots in the European economy, especially considering the far higher costs of oil and natural gas in Europe.

    Countries like Greece, Spain and Italy hve ru into problems because of their too generous pension plans and and overuse of public employees. Europe then exacerbated the problem with bailouts that resulted in Greece especially having to pay loan shark rates and then being forced into an austerity program. The Greek economy has shrunk by a third since austerity took hold so the hell are they going to be able to pay even the interest on the bailouts. Austerity isn't working so well for Britain which is sliding back into a recession.

    The almost worldwide stupidity of the financial giants hasn't ceased to astound me.

    Get over your hatred of Obama and Chu and stop blaming green energy for so many problems. Despite your ranting green energy in the U.S. accounts for less than 2% of overall Federal loan guarantees.

    In 1918 the government started loaning money to oil companies, some failed but most succeeded. Ditto to nuclear energy in 1947 which would never have got off the ground.

    Note a recently annoucned breakthrough from Stanford that will one day revolutionize lithium batteries. That was paid for by a government grant. New technologies evolve because of government support. It's more often than not been that way and it will hopefully continue despite your misgivings.

  2. Glad that you got your red blood cells flowing PAC. PV electricty accounts for about 1.5% of the kilowatt hours of energy dispatched in Germany yet costs the German consumer 12% of their electric bill. OK so now the total electric supply per year in Germany costs about 100 billion Euros. The added 10.5% burden on German consumers is about 10 billion Euros per year and will carry on forever. PAC you studied liberal arts and you are a liberal artist. I studied Thermodynamics and don't pretend to be liberal or artistic. I suggest you don't pretend to understand thermodynamics. As for OH Bummer and Chu Chu Train the record speaks for itself and by the time Stanford gives us free energy Oh Bummer's grandchildren will maybe governing a monor province of China. PAC if we could power our world on BS then both you and Chu Chu will serve us well. Until we get the BS powered car from Bezerkly I suggest you you keep writing your BS on the irritable bowel blog.


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