Going green or clean tech does not mean to stop thinking!
Nov 3rd, 2010
We have posted many times on the need to develop proper financial comparisons between business alternatives. Going green, emission-free or clean tech is becoming more and more interesting, for many businesses and organizations, especially since enticing financing opportunities are offered by governments around the world. But beware, though clean tech does not mean to stop thinking. Generous financing should not be an excuse for lowering your guard and place a bet on projects, alternatives, developments that may haunt your sustainability, instead of enhancing it, in the years to come. Cheap financing of a non performing solution will be a disaster anyways, even if the financing appears really cheap!
Recently, we have been involved in the evaluation of new products, processes, joint ventures in several areas of business, including mechanical (micro-turbines, micro-jets), cosmetics (anti-age products), clean energy, emissionfree plants and large construction programs. One of our study was an exploratory study geared towards match-making between Swiss Clean-Tech suppliers and the burgeoning Canadian (B.C.) market.
We have encountered a number of similar patterns in the behavior of the developers (individuals or companies/corporations) trying to promote their “revolutionary” products/programs/ventures, that will “change the world forever”:
The invention is often claimed to be a “new look” on old, almost forgotten theorems/ applications (actually “despised” by the “official science, engineers”, who are the “Bad Guys No 1”),
The invention is so revolutionary that the large producers (Bad Guys No 2) will soon kill the developer if he does not cover himself up in an impenetrable shroud of mystery.
As the shroud of mystery has to be maintained, tests can only be performed in a shady facility, generally with defective measuring devices which break down right when tings start to become interesting.
Only the developer is capable of performing the feasibility studies necessary to ensure a valid deployment of the invention, at best with the client’s cooperation.
To this date we have seen three “standard” schemes developing:
For a “miracle turbine” the tests presented to us turned out to be “tweaked”, unreproducible, so may be fake. The developer kept claiming that he needed to find an investor who would have the spirit to engage in a very expensive (prices were inflated) test program, but could not release any information on how he would ensure possible payback if tests turned positive. Job was aborted at pre-feasibility level.
For a new line of anti-age cosmetics the developer accepted to perform a large focus group where potential candidates were offered rather large samples, were able to try the products, delivered feed-back, and finally we helped designing the whole business model, using Risk Based Decision Making at every single step.
- Within the frame of a world-wide marketing action for an emissionfree clean energy supplier, a thorough examination of the process and possible throughput was performed, geared towards establishing credibility and developing a series of solid marketing documents. The core of the considered “emission-free” energy process was a closed loop system consisting of three well known techniques: a) a high temperature pyrolysis module, b) gasification module (developed around 1920 and widely used since) and c) thermal-chemical conversion module (Fischer-Tropsch type, process invented in 1925) driven by a high speed/multiple sensor technology-driven information processor capable of stabilizing the thermal-chemical reactions (among others, the Boudouard equilibrium: developed around 1905) and maintaining process outputs within pre-selected parameters. The information provided by the supplier did not reach the level necessary to sustain the initial claims. Job was aborted at pre-feasibility level.
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Category: Risk management