Robert Rapier has a post on cellulosic ethanol hopeful Range Fuels - Range Fuels Out of Money?.
It is no secret that I have been a critic of Range Fuels — not necessarily of their technology but of their approach. I won’t rehash all of the issues I have had with the company; in a nutshell I felt they like were making claims that were very unreasonable, and taking in a lot of taxpayer money based on those claims. As a taxpayer and someone very concerned about energy policy, I spoke out on what I felt were serious deficiencies in the way projects get funded; namely that the companies that make the most outrageous claims are too often the ones that get funded.
I also had my critics who insisted that I didn’t know what I was talking about; that Range was doing something unique and remarkable, and that I didn’t understand that some of the money they were spending was for future expansions. An engineer at NREL called my criticisms unfair. The CEO of Range Fuels stated that my information was “disappointing to say the least and clearly misleading and inaccurate.” One of the engineers involved in the Range project said that my essays demonstrated a “lack of knowledge or understanding of the Range Fuels project.”
Only time will tell if current events mark the beginning of the end for Range, but something appears to be afoot. A few days ago a story in Biofuels Digest indicated that Range Fuels had begun to lay people off. That story was later denounced by Range CEO David Aldous:David Aldous, CEO of Range Fuels, responded Monday afternoon that “the statement ‘the people who work in Broomfield were told not to come to work (Thursday).’ is not correct,” and said that he was traveling and in meetings during the 76 hours between the Digest’s query and his response. He did not elaborate on the status at Broomfield, but described the initial Digest report as “irresponsible reporting” and added “I planned to give you an update on Soperton but now I have no further comments for you.”
Today comes another story that says that Range is “laying off most of its employees.” This story contains quotes from a key Range advisor (and inventor of the gasifier Range was using) suggesting that in fact all is not well in Georgia.