Sunday, November 7, 2010

Kholsa Ventures: Food vs. Fuel White Paper

This is from an old post (Dec 1st, 2008) that popped up in my iGoogle news from the Energy Blog I thought it was worth posting.

A Food vs. Fuel White Paper commissioned by Khosla Ventures the big money championing Range Fuels and the future of ethanol as an investment.  Though the biofuels boom has cooled substantially with the recession that started a few months before this paper was published its a good subject matter to keep in mind.

With this white paper in particular there is one other great reason to read it.  It lays out a very good description of the Petroleum industries benefits (i.e. subsidy) provided by the US Federal Government's pro oil development policies.  If you are an undergrad student doing a research project where you want to lay this out there a great recipe for doing so exists in this white paper.

Its been a few years since I glanced at Khosla's web site.  After browsing it awhile there is a lot of interesting subject matter to read.  In particular I liked an interview link shown of an OPB interview with Vinod Khosla (the V.C. whose namesake the venture group is named for).  A great quote I've pulled out of context about the importance of investing in new technology:

"This has got to be what Nassim [Taleb] calls the black swan phenomena. We have to radically change our assumptions. We are very much like turkeys and as Nassim says in his book, Black Swan, "for a thousand days, a turkey's worldview model is it gets fat every day these humans come out and feed it. Somehow [...] before thanksgiving, it's model changes." We have to follow that model. We have to radically change, and that can happen for the negative or the positive.

We have to shift from extrapolating past assumptions, ignore what economists and econometrics tells us about how much oil we need and when we'll run out and what consumptions will be. Because they are based on the false assumptions. Once those assumption change and technology will drive that change, the world will be different."

 So reading between the lines.  Convert to Ethanol or get your head chopped off!

Just kidding, I couldn't help but point out the logic.  I agree with Khosla quite a bit.  Not as boldly as his investment state but still I agree with much of his premise.

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