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The Business Page

Welcome to the business page, a blog where I'll take you behind the scenes of greater Rochester's fast-changing economy. My name is Ben Rand, and I intend to introduce you to some of the personalities, concepts and events that make news in business here. I've been a business reporter for eight years in Rochester and a journalist for 18, working in four states. I grew up in Pittsford, but moved away after college for about a decade. My wife and I live in Irondequoit with our two children.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Energy Alternatives

As a journalist, one of the surest ways of getting reader reaction these days (besides writing about national security issues) is to weigh in on the subject of ethanol. The notion of a corn-based fuel as a replacement for gasoline seems to get people a little riled. The main reason: Studies that apparently show that it takes more energy to produce ethanol than the ethanol itself produces.

But as the recent renewable energy conference in Rochester showed, the alternative fuel discussion is not just about ethanol. Investments here and nationwide span a wide range of technologies, such as solar, wind, fuel cell and more.

Here are a few examples:
  • Wakonda Technologies, which is developing solar cells under separate research grants from the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Air Force. There is a description of Wakonda's work in this newsletter.
  • Noble Environmental Power, a Connecticut-based wind energy company. Noble is working on developing a 67-turbine wind farm this year in Bliss, Wyoming County and has a second proposal on the way. According to Greater Rochester Enterprise, there are more than 60 companies locally with the ability to manufacture components for turbines.
  • Coler Natural Insulation, which provides materials like recycled blue jeans for use as insulation. The company believes the bio-based materials are more energy efficienct.

If there is going to be a solution using alternative energy, it is likely to require bits and pieces of a wide-range of technologies, as investors in our region have apparently discovered.

2 Comments:

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11:57 AM, July 10, 2006  
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12:11 PM, July 10, 2006  

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