Separating Hype From Reality in Alternative Fuels: Mark Your Calendars for May 19

Energy independence and reducing greenhouse gas emissions were big issues in the last couple Presidential elections. Yet, if you look around town in 2011, it’s still the norm to see people filling up inefficient cars with gasoline from non-renewable sources, at a cost of about $4 a gallon.

Lots of entrepreneurs are pursuing dreams of creating cleaner, more cost-effective alternatives to traditional fossil fuels. Biodiesel, ethanol, algae fuel, hydrogen, liquid natural gas, etc. all get a fair bit of attention, but none of those options have broken out into mainstream usage.

It would be easy to write off the movement as a lot of hype and turn the page, but I don’t think the story is that simple. That’s why we are organizing our next big Xconomy Forum on “Separating Hype from Reality in Alternative Fuels” in Seattle on May 19th.

The stakes in this business are about as high as they get: Cleantech was minted by venture capitalist John Doerr a few years ago as the greatest opportunity of the 21st century. The global energy and transportation market is about as big as any market in the world, worth an estimated $7 trillion a year. Despite all the talk, what kind of progress is really being made with alternative fuels? How far has the field come? How far away is biofuel from becoming a mainstream alternative to fossil fuel? What needs to happen in order for this promising sector to reach its potential?

I plan to moderate a keynote chat to cover these issues with a couple of leading thinkers in this field of science and business—Kristina Burow of Arch Venture Partners, who co-founded San Diego-based Sapphire Energy, and Margaret McCormick, the chief operating officer of Seattle-based Targeted Growth, and a co-founder of a new algae-based biofuel company in Seattle called Matrix Genetics. Tom Ranken, the president of the Washington Clean Technology Alliance, will provide some opening remarks, and I’m planning to add a number of short “burst” talks from top West Coast entrepreneurs with interesting approaches to the alternative fuel business. And, as always, we will leave time at the end for the top-notch networking that is a hallmark of Xconomy events.

I’ll be sure to post more updates on key details about this event, such as the location and names of new speakers, as we get closer to game day on May 19th. For now, I’d encourage readers to save the date on their calendars and check out the registration page to book yourself a seat.

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  • It sounds like a very interesting event. Having been working towards a commercial beta test in British Columbia for a unique algae growth technology myself, and having presented a few keynote addresses as well, I would be very interested in following the progress of this xconomy conference.

  • anonymous

    To learn about the fast-track commercialization of the algae production industry, you may want to check out the National Algae Association, the trade association.

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