Cleantech Joint Ventures: Chevron Biofuel & IBM Nanotech


joint venturesOil giant Chevron (CVX) and forest products company Weyerhaeuser (WY) today unveiled Catchlight Energy, a 50-50 joint biofuels venture that will focus on developing non-food biofuels using cellulose-based biomass.

The formation of Catchlight follows a letter of intent filed by the two companies a little less than year ago. The partnership is similar to the arrangement announced by ZeaChem earlier this month that will see the company buy poplar trees from GreenWood Resources for cellulosic ethanol production; Catchlight plans to tap into Weyerhaeuser’s timberlands to create biofuel.

Cleantech joint ventures seems to be the business strategy du jour. IBM (IBM) is working with Saudi Arabia to develop nanotechnology for cleantech applications, Cleantech Media reports. Specifically, scientists will be developing technologies in the areas of solar energy, water desalination and petrochemical applications such as recyclable materials. Work will be conducted by Saudi and IBM scientists at the Nanotechnology Centre of Excellence at Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology.

This nanotech center is part Saudia Arabia’s continued efforts to diversify in the face of a carbon-constrained future. King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, at last November’s OPEC summit meeting, helped earmark nearly a billion dollars from OPEC members for carbon capture and sequestration research. The hope is that the research will help “de-carbonize” petrochemicals.



I spent some time working in Saudi Arabia back in the 90’s. May be the Saudis can see the writing on the wall as far as the supply of oil is concerned.

At any rate I think there will be a whole raft of Joint Venture initiatives coming out of this.

Best wishes



Green energy is definitely the best solution in most cases. Technology like solar energy, wind power, fuel cells, zaps electric vehicles, EV hybrids, etc have come so far recently. Green energy even costs way less than oil and gas in many cases.

Swapping trees for corn...

…seems like a pretty bad idea from a carrying capacity standpoint. Without pulling scientific rabbit out of a hat, deriving liquid fuel from trees–it seems–would run into the same carrying capacity challenges that ethanol is now facing. Paper and lumber prices would skyrocket–as would the pressure to log native forests (think Amazon, Borneo, Canadian Boreal, Russian Taiga, ) to make room for plantations to grow feedstocks. The Don’t forget about the “eco-nightmare” that Palm Oil is proving to be.

There’s certainly other CleanTech ventures out there more promising than this one.

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