Sunday, January 28, 2007

Tech Barons Take on New Project: Energy Policy - New York Times

"One venture-backed ethanol start-up is Altra, a 50-employee company based in Los Angeles. It offers a twist on ethanol production by making the fuel from nonedible plant matter, producing what is known as cellulosic ethanol.
Altra’s process can create “large volumes of fuel with significantly lower emissions than gasoline, and in a fashion that does not compete with the food supply,” said John Denniston, a partner at the Silicon Valley investment firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers. The firm invested an undisclosed amount in Altra as part of a financing round that raised $50 million, Altra said.
Mr. Denniston said Altra could benefit from policy changes. For example, the government could require that cars be able to run on either ethanol or gasoline, or it could set up a national carbon trading system that would increase demand for ethanol by forcing companies to find greener alternatives to oil and gas. Such a system would put a limit on the volume of carbon dioxide emissions and then create a trading system where companies could buy credits that would permit them to emit more. "

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