Craig Venter at TED: Replacing the Petrol Industry


Our favorite genomics guru and cleantech entrepreneur Craig Venter gave a thorough talk on digitizing biology, designing and synthesizing life, and creating “fourth-generation biofuels” (WTF are those by the way?) at the recent TED conference. TED organizers just put the clip up on the site. (TED’s embed code seems a little wonky, so for now, we’ve just linked the screenshot to where you can watch the video).

As Venter says in his speech, his modest goal of replacing the entire petrol chemical industry actually doesn’t seem so shocking in the context of the big ideas at the TED conference. Interestingly, he brings up that he has been looking at organisms that live in ocean thermal vents that convert CO2 into methane, and Google’s Larry Page asks a question about how efficient those organisms can be.

Also, note the disclosure notice that TED organizers have put under the video: “TED Curator Chris Anderson was an early private investor in Craig Venter’s company Synthetic Genomics. His ownership position is less than 1 percent of the company.”




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.

Rich Mcg

Since when did the well being of the status quo stop new ideas?

Nice goal and interesting approach.

The Government will always figure out a way to tax, whether it is gas, cigarettes or food.

Sanjong Thapa

how does Mr. Venter figure to replace the half-trillion dollars that Big Oil pays in Federal income tax?

And does he want the quarter-million Big Oil employees to become corn farmers now?

And what about the gasoline surcharges imposed by state & local governments that pay for highways?

Jason Morris

While some of the claims may seem far fetched or far off, it is great that the global warming issue is drawing some of science’s best minds. Especially given future administrations will likely present a friendlier climate for scientific contributions.

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