Monday, July 21, 2008

Monday morning muses - July 21, 2008 - Going "green" makes "green"

Good morning everyone,

Just got back from a week of vacation in beautiful Boston . What a treat it was to get off the "grid" for a week and spend some time with the family. I gotta admit it took me a few days to stop checking my email and compulsively check my voicemails.

Let me share a story that caught my eye in the Boston Globe. Evergreen Solar signs $1.2 billion contract - Click here to link to the story. Turns out that Northeast manufacturing jobs are in short supply ( and decreasing) and a company called Evergreen Solar (that makes solar panels) has just signed a $1.2 billion order. This order will sell out the capacity of the factory until 2013. The factory will employ over 700 people in high tech/high skill manufacturing jobs (that pay $70 -100k).

While I'm the first to acknowledge that TechColumbus is making headway in accelerating the startup community I ask myself , "What is Central Ohio doing to take advantage of its manufacturing heritage and affordable cost base to grow high tech manufacturing jobs?"

We've got a a lot of smart people and idle manufacturing capacity. What prevents us from landing a $1.2 billion dollar solar panel contract? With soaring energy coats you would think that the powers that be would be all over accelerating our jump into alternative energy industries. Does anyone know what we're doing as a region/state in this area? I would think that the opportunity to grow several hundred high paying jobs would motivate us. Evergreen Solar (a Devon Mass company has just shown us that it can be done.

What can we do as a community to accelerate making "green" from going "green"?


Peace out,
Ben

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3 Comments:

Blogger Michael said...

While the powers that be in the area of business attraction will take a business like you referenced I don't think they actively pursue it. I think that if the business doesn't fall in the selected areas such as life sciences the opportunity doesn't receive adequate attention.

July 21, 2008 at 11:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just finished a three day experiment at TechColumbus called Startup Weekend. It was a huge success. The ideas that were formed were all software and web approaches to building a business in three days. One recommendation would be to create a similar venue for manufacturing green. Invite a guest alternative energy CEO and assemble what's left of Columbus' manufacturing firms and make sure you invite people in Columbus with ideas as well as the people with the money to invest. It can happen.

July 22, 2008 at 9:58 AM  
Blogger Rick Coplin said...

At least one local business is doing something about accelerating “making green” – literally. Univenture, based in Marysville and headed by CEO Ross Youngs, has a new subsidiary called Algaeventure, formed to explore the potential of algae as a fuel, feedstock and source of raw materials for Univenture’s products. In the case of Univenture, algae could be a raw material for their EcoEndure product line, designed to replace products typically made from plastic, with products made from a variety of environmentally friendly materials, including algae. Algae produce oils which can be used as a raw material for producing plastics, and also as a bio-fuel. Byproducts can be high protein animal feed products, and the production process can consume carbon dioxide emitted from manufacturing and power generation plants.

In May, Algaeventure held a symposium which brought together people from industry, education and research to share information related to the utilization of algae for bio-products. During this meeting, Mr. Youngs presented an outline for successful commercialization of algae growth that could form the catalyst for significant economic development in Ohio and beyond. Check out the presentation at http://algaeventuresystems.com/# and also investigate the Green Belt Coalition link on the same page.

So yes, in Central Ohio, we have a lot of smart people who are doing innovative things in the green industry and the alternative energy industry. Mr Youngs will be presenting information about Algaeventure and the technology, business and economic development potential at a TechColumbus breakfast at OCLC in Dublin on Thursday, August 28th. Make time to attend and learn more about what our community is doing to accelerate “making green”.

July 22, 2008 at 1:54 PM  

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