**Bumped up from TAMWire. Posted by Maynard**

Converting wood chips into ethanol sounds great, but they keep building expensive plants (with taxpayer support) that do not work and end up shuttered. The mastermind in this case is a billionaire and big Democrat bundler.

See also Range Fuels.

Billionaire Vinod Khosla’s big dreams for biofuels fail to catch fire

Just over a year ago, billionaire venture capitalist Vinod Khosla was bubbling with optimism about one of his latest investments: KiOR, a biofuel outfit he said would turn wood chips into hydrocarbons that could be poured straight into a refinery, pipeline or vehicle…

Now, however, the spell has been broken. On Nov. 10, KiOR filed for bankruptcy, leaving behind 2,067 creditors, including the state of Mississippi, which had given KiOR a $75 million, 20-year, no-interest loan after the company assured officials that it would invest $500 million in the plant and create 1,000 jobs by December 2015.

During its short life, KiOR lost money on every gallon it produced; costs ran $5 to $10 a gallon even without counting the cost of building the plant, according to biofuel industry analysts. According to court papers, KiOR’s revenue totaled just $2.25 million; losses amounted to $629.3 million. Even injections of money from Khosla ($85 million) and Bill Gates ($15 million) in October 2013 could not stave off bankruptcy.

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6 Comments | Leave a comment
  1. Alain41 says:

    Per article, George W. Bush promoted this type of biofuels, in 2006 SotU_ address. Condi_ Rice is on its Board. And Haley_ Barbour_ had Miss. loan it $75 million to locate there of which $70 mil. is still owed. The new Congress should pass a bill overturning the law mandating biofuels. So glad that Barbour backed T. Cochran. Those GOPe_ are so much smarter than we little people.

  2. Maynard says:

    The crazy part is how quickly these money pits go broke. They eat up hundreds of millions of dollars, but they’re shuttered before the ink dries on the paperwork. That tells you how hopeless they are, and any sane businessperson would have told you that on the first day. After Solyndra, Obama muttered a few words about “the Chinese”. Yeah, the Chinese, that explains it all. And A123 Battery, that big groundbreaking with government money and lots of pics of Obama and a shovel. Yeah, he shoveled the people’s money right into the pockets of the Koreans, and there’s nothing to show for it. This is truly insanity. China builds factories that build stuff, we invest our dwindling treasure into unicorn farms. At the end of the day, we’re left with a useless infrastructure and a mountain of debt. But we’ll race to our collective demise pumping our fists in the air and screaming to the heavens about all the good we’re doing.

    Someone is quoted in this article, noting “This leads to public perception that advanced biofuels are a boondoggle.” No, we wouldn’t want anyone to get the wrong idea.

  3. strider says:

    These scams must be put up to hide other scams. Turning wood chips into fuel In quantities greater that the amount required for the “conversion” would be a form of perpetual motion. Letting termites eat the chips and capturing their resultant gaseous emissions would be a better deal.

    • Maynard says:

      The quest for cellulosic ethanol on a commercial scale makes sense in principle. This makes intuitive sense: We can grow and burn firewood, so you know the energy is there. In essence, firewood is stored solar power: The sun makes the tree grow, and the wood has that stored energy that can be burned at will to liberate that energy. It’s just got to go through a chemical process that leaves the energy in ethanol. (We’re already pretty good at turning food into ethanol, although corn-based ethanol is pretty much another boondoggle, albeit more functional than the wood process. But that’s another topic…) But we can’t build industrial plants until the details of that process have been nailed down.

  4. Dave says:

    When are these brilliant fools going to understand that fossil fuels are not from animals but from massive amounts of vegetation that was instantly piled up by massive amounts of water that buried it with massive amounts of soil. It then slowly under pressure turned into coal and oil. This all was made by God. Men did not make it happen and they never will. The closest that men came to produce energy was through dams and nuclear energy plants. Solar, wind, ethanol or anything else will never work.

  5. Alain41 says:

    Speaking of green energy boondoggles; The UN Climate Conference has begun in Lima Peru. Some 10,000 delegates from almost 200 countries are in attendance from Dec. 1 – 12.

    When I think of environmentally friendly policies, I think flying 10,000 climate diplomats to Peru is at the top of the list. What? They have round trip tickets! Well there goes the green savings.

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