Fossil fuels need entrepreneurial innovation
By Josh Mitchell
November 1, 2012 --
Fossil fuel regulations often stifle energy businesses, but entrepreneurs can actually use the barriers to their advantage. Challenges associated with water shortages, limiting carbon emissions and integrating fossil fuels with renewable forms of energy can be a platform for innovation. "I think there are opportunities in regulation," said Rob Hurless, energy strategy adviser to Gov. Matt Mead.
Hurless was one of several energy experts on a panel at the Wyoming Technology Business Center's second annual e2e conference in Laramie.
Bill Gillette, CEO of Logimesh Technologies of Fort Collins, Colo., attended the September conference and said he is optimistic about the future of his business. His company develops a wireless sensor device to monitor machine health in the oil and gas industry. "All indications are that we're facing a very prosperous future, particularly in the fact that we're targeted at the natural gas compression marketplace," Gillette said.
Mark Clayton, vice president with Austin, Texas-based Skyonic, said the challenges related to fossil fuels present many entrepreneurial opportunities. His company has a technology that captures carbon dioxide and transforms it into useful products. "I think that carbon fuels are here to stay, and we're going to be using them," Clayton said. "So we need to find better ways to deal with them and treat them and deal with the products that come out of it."
A problem for one energy business is a market opportunity for another company to help solve that problem, said Jonathon Benson, CEO of the Wyoming Technology Business Center. The Wyoming Technology Business Center, part of the University of Wyoming, put on the conference to help stimulate more energy businesses across the state.
The Wyoming energy industry must focus on technology and business development especially as countries like China and India continue to need more power, Hurless said. The state will contribute to the effort as much as it can, but it is up to the private sector to move Wyoming's energy industry forward, Hurless added. "And so I think that (Wyoming) has a bright future, but it's not one that's guaranteed and it's one that's going to require work and a lot of thoughtful development," he said.
Currently, Wyoming is involved in extracting the commodities, and value is often added to the products out of state, Hurless said. "The long-term strategy for the state is to say