has long been considered one of the most forward looking technology visionaries in Silicon Valley. He is also one of many Silicon Valley investors becoming very interested (and invested) in the convergence of biosciences and the energy industry. Jurveston sits on the board of Craig Venter’s new company Synthetic Genomics which hopes to tap the power of synthetic biology for energy production.
In this 6 minute ZDNET presentation clip from AlwaysOn GoingGreen conference held on September 10-12th, 2008, Jurvetson explains the implications of accelerating changes in biology, genetics, and synthetic biology to the future of energy.
Accelerating changes in biology and cleantech
The future of biology is likely to converge with other industries like energy within the next 10-20 years.
Bio energy is very complicated subject with enormous potential to change how we produce biofuels, hydrogen and bio-material feedstocks. But it is also in its early ‘hype’ stages of development and we need framers who can eloquently describe how these changes in biology and genetics might someday change energy.
Fortunately for us – Steve Jurveston is one of those visionaries who can explain this convergence of biosciences and energy.
The key word for the cleantech (or alternative energy) world is momentum.
Market conditions change, as do consumer attitudes and expectations. If alternative energy concepts fail to live up to their hype, public support could fade along with political will and policies that enable growth.
Cleantech startups are trying to reach people who are asking ‘What can I do to accelerate changes in energy?’
The formula is relatively straight forward. Consumers buy things so they need to be low cost and easy to use. And moving beyond criticisms of trying to buy or consume ourselves into a greener planet, start ups have to evolve around one of two categories products and services to survive. Today we’ll look briefly at products in home and local power generation.
Local power generation is an area that should see solid growth in the years ahead. Producing 10-20% of our own electricity needs could go a long way in reducing emissions and demand on our electrical grid.
Small scale wind and solar systems are ideal for homes, schools, factories and office buildings looking to reduce their demand on the energy grid.
On July 30, 2008 Pacific Gas and Electric annnounced a plan to deploy smart meters and an enhanced electric grid by 2012. What does this mean for the future of power?
For over half a century our electricity usage has been accounted for in the most basic way. We flip on a switch, and our electric meter starts turning. Each time we use our electricity, we really have no idea how much electricity we are using at any given time. The wheel turns, and no one is home.
Suddenly there has been a convergence of technology and resources around that little round meter that you never really look at. Utilities want to know more about your power usage, and when you use it the most. They also want to inform you of the same information, so you can reduce your energy usage during times of peak energy demand. New forms of rate pricing will replace the dumb system we have now. Use less energy when those power companies are scambling to meet demand and you may be rewarded. Three advanced residential rate options on your bill will include hourly pricing, critical peak pricing and critical peak rebates, according to www.Metering.com. Basically you will be rewarded for how well you govern your consumption.
Realizing that it is difficult to watch your energy usage without the proper tools, technology companies such as Comverge are figuring out ways for you to remotely control the thermostat in your house. Other companies are working on technology that can inform you of a good time to do your laundry, such as off peak hours when it will be cheaper.
A few months back, I wrote an article entitled “The Coming Health Care
Revolution” in which I discussed the startling advances in the
field of genomics. To provide readers a better sense of how fast
things are happening, I’d like to highlight the news just from
I began my morning by reading this article discussing how researchers in Georgia
believe they have identified a gene which plays a significant role
in causing Alzheimer’s. Next, I stumbled across this BBC report reviewing how smoking causes genetic
changes which limit the production of a protein believed to be
helpful in preventing lung cancer. Finally, there was this report
on Physorg discussing how the gene –
GLUT2 – might be linked to obesity.
There was a picture from yesterday’s NY Times article entitled
My Life in a Video and it shows a
dancer with a variety of sensors embedded in her leotard. Among
other things these sensors can automatically control music to
correspond with her dance tempo.
To be sure, it is a cool technology and I’m sure it will soon be
showing up in some avant garde theatres; I, however, would
encourage you to think even more broadly about how embedded sensors
and RFID tags will soon transform our
To do so, I invite you to read these two recent articles. The
first is from Roland Piquepaille over at ZDNET and he explains how researchers at the
University of Washington have deployed 200 antennas (RFID readers)
to track the movements and activities of 12 students.
I would also encourage you to watch the six minute YouTube clip
posted below. It is a little academic at times, but toward the end
you will witness two exciting applications. In the first, a student
hears a song that a colleague is listening to and he is able to
instantly download it to his cellphone. In the second, the same
student downloads information from a wall poster. (At a minimum,
this latter application holds great relevance for advertisers and
retailers who might soon be able to employ the technology to
download electronic coupons to consumers as a means of either
enticing them to purchase the product or, at least, receive more
information about it).
Chris Sherman over at Virtual
World News noted yesterday that there are so many virtual world
start-ups in stealth-mode that he’s lost count.
“They range in focus from virtual goods and economies to
lifelogging to 2d and 3d virtual world destinations to platforms
and tools companies and more,” points out Sherman, the producer of
the steadily growing Virtual Worlds conference
Not only are myriad start-ups getting into the virtual frenzy,
so are corporate giants like
All this activity nicely reinforces a DFC estimate that virtual world
revenues will reach 6 billion $ annually by 2012.
Even with the slowing growth of Second Life, it’s easy to
imagine that between Spore, MetaPlace, Multiverse, Club Penguin, Google, Microsoft,
Sony and all of the little guys, it won’t be all that hard to hit
that 6 billion $ target.
Check back tomorrow for an in-depth interview with Jerry
Paffendorf, co-founder of Wello Horld, one of the stealth
start-ups mentioned by Sherman.