Sunday, August 06, 2006

Biofuel. One of the men in my Friday Morning breakfast group is Karl, a non-lawyer who looks at the world quite differently than I do. He is an original thinker, and being so he has not quite found his niche. But he brings a point of view that is original and thought provoking. (I referred to Karl in an earlier post, when I mentioned the carbon catalyst device he is selling.)

On Friday, Karl mentioned several ideas that he knew about "early" and that later turned into sources of great wealth for people who were able to develop them and bring them to market. For example, he told us the story about how MCI got started, when it got the idea of buying long-distance minutes from ATT, under a bulk discount program, and then reselling those minutes to the consumer. According to Karl, ATT had been doing discount selling of bulk LD minutes to big corporations, such as Ford and GM, for years, and the MCI people got the idea of doing that as well, except that, instead of using the minutes itself, reselling those minutes in the consumer market and making a tiny profit on each minute. Karl said he knew about that idea early on.

I asked him what new ideas where "out there" now, and he immediately mentioned sweet sorghum as a source of biofuel. He said that sweet sorghum grows anywhere and is as good a source of ethanol as corn, if not better. Sure enough, sweet sorghum is prominent in the biofuel conversation. (Note especially the author of the article to which the link refers. Is that a real school with which the author is affiliated? Do they have sports there? Do they ever play anyone in football worth mentioning?)

Speaking of ethanol, someone at the table mentioned that Wal-Mart at its Hialeah Superstore has installed an ethanol pump at its gas station. A light bulb went on: If Karl and Wal-Mart are on parallel tracks, maybe we've got something here.

So I've been looking around the 'net to see what's going on, as you can already see. I found several sites, but a good one to start with is the Renewable Fuels Association website. As I explored that site, I saw, among other things, that there are dozens of ethanol refineries being built in the "seed belt", especially in Indiana. The major company that is doing a lot of the construction of these plants is Broin & Associates. Maybe if I were a young man and had some contacts in, say, Iowa, I would look into this. There is a lot of cheap real estate out there and, maybe, biofuel is the fuel of tomorrow.

Finally, take a look at this lecture on ethanol fueled automobiles over at Google, entitled "Think Outside the Barrel". Very iinteresting.

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