Big Ideas from Cleantech

I just returned after two days of action at the Cleantech Forum in San Francisco.

Over 600 venture capitalists showed up, representative of the tremendous upsurge in investment in the sector.

In huge investment news announced in conjunction with the forum – CalPERS commits $400 mm in investment to Cleantech. California strikes again.

I tried to distill the conference to 3 Big Idea Takeaways in Energy and Cleantech:

BP on the Future of Automotive Fuel – Paraphrasing BP Distinguished Scientist Theo Fleis – Stop thinking in terms of “ethanol” or “hydrogen” or “biodiesel” – the future fuels will be blends. Think hybrid fuels, just like hybrid cars. (A sentiment we have blogged about before, and with which we wholeheartedly agree.)

His BP prediction on our future fuel mix in the year 2100 – gasoline from crude oil – 30%, gasoline fro gas to liquids, coal, syngas, or other “synthetic” source, 50%, hydrogen, included in the “other” category.

Steven Chu on Global Warming – Paraphrasing Steven Chu, Nobel laureate and Director of Lawrence Berkeley Lab – one of the most untalked about issues with global warming – water storage. For example, we here in California get a large portion of our water (and power) from snow melt – ie, water (and energy) stored or “banked” in the form of ice until needed as a way to balance the fact that we get most of our rain fall in a very short period of time. If global warming reduces the snowpack, it will also massively affect the water storage system that underpins our society.

Walmart on the Next Big Thing – Again to paraphrase “We’ve done a huge amount in energy efficiency already – the next thing we’re turning our attention to is water reduction and resuse – how to make our stores more sustainable.”

Author Neal Dikeman is a founding partner at Jane Capital Partners LLC, a boutique merchant bank advising strategic investors and startups in cleantech. He is the founding contributor of Cleantech Blog, and a Contributing Editor to

1 reply
  1. John J Burton
    John J Burton says:

    Getting 50% of auto fuel from hydrogen is helpful re global warming only if no carbon dioxide ie emitted in producing the hydrogen. If produced at coal-fired power plants, the carbon dioxide must be buried- no power lants are doing this buit some have plans to do so.

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