Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Years


In astrophysics we need a leap year every 4 years to get the calendar back in sync with time. Not that time really cares about our calendar but we care about time through our keeping of time with clocks and calendars. I personally don’t care much about time but care about entropy that increases with time as we chose to measure time in the direction that entropy increases. Talking about chaos we also have a 4 year cycle in our Presidential elections and each Presidential elections occurs in a leap year. I guess the founding fathers chose the year and the cycle because they took a leap of faith in our system of government. I have to say the 2012 Presidential election is no leap of faith, it is a choice between terrible and incredibly terrible.

My friends at Amyris are just about knocked out and they got the French oil company Total and a Sheik in Qatar to give them some life support and ventilation. Amyris had an idea to make diesel out of table sugar and of course Vinod Cost Us and John Show Us The Door the darlings of Sand Hill Road took that idea public. First Solar is seeing shadows as they post losses and write down their abandoned CIGS solar technology. The first company to bring us Cigarettes (CIGS) was none other than Solyndra, I guess the Department of Entropy can now have the Surgeon General place a warning on all the loan documents that CIGS are dangerous to your health.

All the BS alternate energy we heard from Stevie Not So Wonder has yielded little other than $4.45 a gallon gas that I filled up with yesterday here in Northern California. There is however a good use for real BS from the farm. This week I chatted with a guy in Oakland California who works at a small company that has been around for years that designs and builds anaerobic digestion systems for cow, pig, and poultry manure. The systems yield biogas with 60% methane content that can be used as fuel in electric generators with internal combustion engines. The small company RCM International did not get Obama’s money but has designed and built approximately half of the digesters on farms in the USA. Sadly the number of digesters on farms in the USA is small (about 200) when compared with Germany or Japan but the market will develop and RCM International has good engineers who do good work in turning waste to fuel.

Amyris and Vinod’s other greentech nonsense turn food to fuel but actually turn money to waste. Vinod’s other company Kior is a thermodynamic fake out and will report its losses in a few weeks. Perhaps the gem of Vinod’s portfolio that converts mahogany trees to saw dust is Calera. Several months back, I wrote a blog about their nonsense to yield cement in the ocean from the carbon emissions of power plants. Calera took in Peabody Coal and Bechtel as partners. They have all but given up. Dr. Constantz a professor at Stanford and the founder of Calera moved on and is now proposing a method to desalinate water in the deep blue sea. The only thing constant about all of the pie in the ocean ideas Constantz has is that it is like throwing money down the drain. Maybe RCM can find a way to digest the money lost to sewage and make some biogas. RCM stand for Real Cash Maker. Good job to the team at RCM.

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