Alternative Energy

I spent some time this week learning about alternative energy investment opportunities. Now I don’t really know very much about this subject and I certainly won’t be investing professionally in alternative energy any time soon, but I might make some personal investments because I think its a very interesting area with a lot of promise.

I was visited yesterday by a good friend who is a silicon valley serial entrepreneur. He was way out in front of the Internet and saw the need for things like content delivery systems, spam filters, and a host of other critical technologies. This guy is a real money maker. And he is spending all of his time on alternative energy now.

He’s looking at and investing in new and better ways to make photovoltaic cells (solar power cells), ideas to make wind power work across larger geographic distances, energy transportation systems, etc. Listening to him, I was struck that when these ideas turn into reality (and I am convinced that they will – it’s just a matter of time), our world will change dramatically and the owners of these technologies will benefit enormously.

Earlier in the week, I sat in on a pitch by a company that takes plastic waste from waste haulers and using a proprietary chemical process, turns it into diesel fuel. The plastic that is used in the process is not currently recyclable and the result is that less plastic ends up in dumps and less oil needs to be imported. That’s a lot of good that comes out of this new technology.

If you think that the world will eventually run out of oil – I do – and if you don’t want to go back to the stone ages – I don’t – and if you think that there are ways to use technology to solve this problem – I do – then Alternative Energy seems like critical technology. I have so much faith in the brains of the engineers and scientists of our world that I am sure we’ve solve these problems. The only risk is timing. And that’s a big one.