Spurring Clean Technology Growth in California

A bit of technology news: Yesterday, Governor Scharzenegger visited Cobalt Technologies in Mountain View to announce a plan to help encourage the growth of clean technology in California. Cobalt Technologies works to generate a viable biofuel alternative to petroleum. Recently, they succeeded in synthesizing a substance called biobutanol, that meets their internal requirements: generate lower emissions, capable of being used in existing engines and petroleum infrastructure, and below the cost of petroleum.

According to their CEO Rick Wilson:

"it can be blended in with gasoline, diesel fuel and ethanol gasoline blends, it can be converted into jet fuel, it can be converted into propylene to make polypropylene-based plastics or it can be sold into the chemical solvent market as a green chemical alternative."

Wow. That is an impressive list of applications. And did Rick Wagner mention that biobutanol reduces emissions by a whopping 85%, and produces amounts of energy far in excess of other biofuels like corn ethanol. And Cobalt Technologies is ready to immediately scale up to commercial facilities.

During the course of the presentation, Rick Wagner goes on to sing the praises of his companies biofuel, followed by a speech by the Governor, who announced a program to help encourage companies like Cobalt Technologies. The Job Initiative includes a sale tax exemption for the purchase of green technology manufacturing equipment, as well as:

  • The $500 million for a hiring tax credit, so if you hire new people you get a tax credit for that. And retraining programs, which is very important. If you keep them in your company for more than nine months then you can get also additional tax credit.
  • Then there's a measure to streamline the permitting of construction jobs and projects,
  • And then an extension of the home-buyers' tax credit for new and for existing homes,
  • And the tort reform is the fourth piece of our legislation here. It is tort reform to eliminate frivolous lawsuits that hurt businesses and they kill jobs.

More speeches follow, including one by the newly appointed Mayor of Mountain View, Mayor Ronit Bryant. (Full disclosure: Mayor Bryant is my mother.)

The full text, and a video of the conference is located on the state website.


Astra Bryant

Astra Bryant is a graduate of the Stanford Neuroscience PhD program in the labs of Drs. Eric Knudsen and John Huguenard. She used in vitro slice electrophysiology to study the cellular and synaptic mechanisms linking cholinergic signaling and gamma oscillations – two processes critical for the control of gaze and attention, which are disrupted in many psychiatric disorders. She is a senior editor and the webmaster of the NeuWrite West Neuroblog