• Jul 28th 2006 at 11:14AM
  • 9
Richard Branson, the founder of the Virgin Group, is worried about global warming, since his business interests cover six continents and deal with transportation through the air and on land. But Branson, being the prolific entrepreneur he is, does not see disaster; he sees opportunity to reinvent the fuel business. Branson is investing in traditional alternatives such as ethanol plants and solar power, but he is also developing a new ultra clean fuel that can power jets, cars and trucks. The fuel should work with cars, trucks and trains within a year, and within five years for commercial jet engines. Believe it or not, it will be called Virgin Fuel. While Branson is concerned about global warming and CO2 emissions, the ultimate motive of his ventures is to increase profit, and with oil prices above $70 a barrel, alternative fuels are making more business sense. The Virgin Group is set to invest about $1 billion in alternative fuels in the next four years. Read the complete article to get some insight in Branson's business ideas.
[Source: CNN Money]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 9 Comments
      • 9 Years Ago
      "as soon as there is a viable alternative I'm going to AVOID petroleum like the plague"

      Here. Here. But doing so will probably change little.

      Any action that will threaten the oil companies can be easily remedy by the huge amount of cash they can throw at the problem. Any reduction in usage of oil will be good news, since they are having problem keeping up with the demand anyways. And if the demand falls too much, there is no consequences for them to cut production to keep the prices high.

      Besides, if alternatives take hold, and prices of gas drops, Americans will start buying gas-guzzlers again anyways.

      • 9 Years Ago
      "Here. Here. But doing so will probably change little."

      By the way, while I am very pessimistic about our dependence on petroleum, the final point I wanted to make is that it will take COMMITMENT.

      Oil will be with us for a long time to come. It is quite possible that gasoline will be cheap again. People will lose their hatred of the oil companies and we'll be happy buying gas-guzzlers again.

      Hopefully, by that time, alternatives will have a good foot-hold. There will finally be a choice for consumers to buy fuels that will satisfy their principles. I have a vehicle with high MPG now, and I am quite ready to spend my money on a PHEV, or even a pure EV. After that, working toward a solar/wind convertion for my home (I am currently working on the conservation side, first. This month is our highest usage for the year: ~600 kWh).

      Commitment to the effort is going to be very important, because hating the oil companies and just boycotting at the pump will not be enough to wean us off oil.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I THINK IT IS TREMENDOUS THAT SIR RICHARD BRANSON IS INVESTING AND TAKING PART IN THIS CAMPAIG TO GET NEW AND CLEANER FUELS.I HOPE HE CAN MAKE ETHANOL PRODUCTION EXPLODE IN SUGAR CANE COUNTRIES LIKE AUSTRALIA,INDIA,SOUTH AFRICA,LATIN AMERICA AND AFRICA EVEN IN THE SOUTH OF USA WHERE SUGAR CANE ETHANOL COULD BOOM TO SUSTITUTE MOST OF GASOLINE(PETROL)USE.
      THAT WILL BE A WIN-WIN SCENARIO FOR BUSSINESS AND ENVIROMENT
      • 9 Years Ago
      If Branson's all that concerned about global warming, perhaps his company should buy a Flight TerraPass ( http://terrapass.com/flight/index.html) for every passenger of every flight Virgin Atlantic takes in the short term until he can get his planes going on his wonder-tonic.

      He can pass that expense on to the customers, who really wouldn't notice it as it's not like Virgin customers are bargain shoppers. Virgin Atlantic is all about the luxury, not a low-cost carrier.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I'm all for undercutting the oil industry with all its associated problems, and biofuels are theoretically carbon neutral (apart from taking up land space which might have been forest - a carbon store).

      However, most importantly, I have read in various sources (such as the World Development Movement magazine reporting on maize demonstrations in Mexico I think), most recently in the Guardian (U.K. newspaper) front page story, 4th December 2007, that biofuels production is competing with food production. I.e. it causes the price of food on the world market to rise, which means in richer economies, a loaf of bread may be a few pence higher, but in poorer economies, mass hunger. E.g. the price of cooking oil, a major staple, in Bangladesh, is said to have risen threefold (the Guardian).
      • 8 Years Ago
      We have launched an independent news site called VirginFuels.org. The purpose is to examine global bioenergy issues with a special focus on Sir Richard Branson's Gaia Capitalism. Although we are not associated with Virgin Fuels, we offer timely, relevant information about bioenergy, biofuels, alternative fuels, and sustainable energy policies.
      • 9 Years Ago
      I hope it is BUTANOL because in 1984 and newer gasoline cars, you can just pour it into the gas tank and drive. It is a virtual plug-in. Also, I noticed his comment about it not "quite" being Ethanol. Right. Butanol is a 4-carbon alcohol, which can be sent in pipelines just like gasoline and has virtually the same energy (BTU) per gallon as gasoline, whereas Ethanol cannot be pipelined and has 2/3 the energy of Butanol or gasoline.

      Go for it, Richard.

      When you put up a station near me, you'll see me there for every tankful, even if I have to pay a bit more for the fuel ('coz the oil companies and OPEC will soil themselves when they start to lose market share - and reduce prices - but as soon as there is a viable alternative I'm going to AVOID petroleum like the plague).
      • 9 Years Ago
      Add a Tesla boundary layer motor generater to the all ellectric Tesla Roadster to create a hybrid. PDE conbustor to drive the turbine with LNG,Propane or Hydrogen with zero emissions 85-95% efficient. That part is simple. The current auto industry and oil companies have not completed the rape of the public yet.....just wait and wait and wait........
      • 9 Years Ago
      I am seeking investors for a series of bio-refineries in MId-Coast maine. We have detailed plans from experienced vendors and will feature using waste wood currently burned or landfilled and bio-remediation of BRownFields using crops than can be harvested annually(sustainable agriculture).

      Any takers ready for a ground breaking. Email me for details at global3004@gwi.net Frank J. Heller, MPA
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