STEPPING OUT

By Yvonne and Daniel Sweeney

Hello, and thanks for reading the inaugural issue of Juice, the World of Alternative Fuels.

We began this venture because we perceived a serious information vacuum. Everyone is aware of the precipitate rise in petroleum and natural gas prices during the first six years of this decade, and nearly everyone is aware that new energy sources such as ethanol, biodiesel, and hydrogen are vigorously vying for acceptance in the liquid and gaseous fuels marketplace. All of this has been subject to very extensive if seldom very deeply informed coverage in both the mainstream and business press. But outside of a few blogs and highly specialized journals, no one is looking behind the tumult in the combustible fuels marketplace to get at the underlying economic and technological transformations taking place, and no one is providing much in the way of cohesive business intelligence on the alternative fuels industries.

We believe that alternative fuels are well on the way to becoming conventional fuels in the years to come (at which point we’ll simply call ourselves Juice). Within the next twenty years at the outside, and, more likely, within the next five to seven years, the production of conventional petroleum will no longer meet global demand, and, even before that inflection point is reached, petroleum prices are likely to remain sufficiently elevated to urge an ever more concerted search for substitutes. Some of those substitutes will come from coal, some from bitumen, some from unconventional forms of natural gas, some from oil shale, some from energy crops, and some from other forms of biomass. No one source will suffice to replace the ocean of light crude oil which we are so rapidly depleting today, and the alternative fuels market in its formative stages will be marked by great uncertainty, intense competition among providers of feedstocks and among the manufacturers of equipment for processing them, and some major realignments in the energy sector.

We are covering all forms of alternative fuels and not just biofuels or unconventional fossil fuels simply because all are competing for the same customers and all are attracting entrepreneurs, visionaries, non-risk aversive investors, and other exciting people engaged in truly exciting enterprises. Frankly, we don’t want to miss out on anything concerning the energy bonanzas and busts to come and we’re sure our readers in the investment community and in the various alt fuels sectors don’t either.

The question naturally arises, are we an environmental journal or green publication? The short answer is that we’re a business publication. We happen to believe that vendors of liquid and gaseous fuels, whatever their origin, who are oblivious to environmental concerns are facing a bleak future. At some point, and it may be far in the future, nations will act collectively to curtail the amount of carbon in the atmosphere, and noxious emissions like sulfur, mercury, and nitrous oxides will have been curtailed long before that. In fact we have met very few corporate leaders involved in any sort of alternative fuel enterprise who have not incorporated some form of emissions control or abatement in their business plans. Having said that, we will readily concede that few if any alternative fuels are carbon neutral at present, and that price rather than environmental considerations is the chief driver in alternative fuels development today.

The rest of the Website pretty much explains what we do, which is a bit of everything, financial reporting, market assessment, scientific analyses, and business stories with a focus on successful business strategies. Some of what we do goes beyond ordinary business journalism and is in nature of technology and market forecasting. These analyses may be purchased by anyone as separate reports and are provided gratis to premium subscribers.

The alternative fuels business promises to be quite a ride as it grows and developments, a young turbulent business where fortunes will be made and economic history will be written and rewritten. We aim to do some of that writing, and we invite you to read it.