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Page added on October 30, 2008

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Cutting Through the Coskata Cellulosic Ethanol Hype

I have a strong distaste for companies or individuals who overpromise and underdeliver. Changing World Technologies (CWT) and their thermal depolymerization (TDP) technology is probably the poster child for companies that promised lots and delivered little. The hype was that they had the “technological savvy” to “turn 600 million tons of turkey guts and other waste into 4 billion barrels of light Texas crude each year.” Further, they were going to “make oil for $8 to $12 a barrel.”

Of course as time went by, the hype unraveled. But not before the hype resulted in CWT getting earmarks for building their plant (money that went down the drain as documented here) as well as a tax credit inserted by Missouri Congressman Roy Blunt to specifically benefit CWT. That money came out of the pockets of American taxpayers, and could have been better utilized. But it was hijacked by CWT and their overpromises.

These are the sorts of implications that cause me to be very skeptical of companies that make seemingly far-fetched claims. I don’t want technologies receiving legal and tax benefits because of hollow boasts. This is also the reason I have been critical in my assessments of some of the cellulosic ethanol claims made by ethanol evangelists like Vinod Khosla.

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