[Gasification] Lanzatech, Range Fuels etc lessons learnt

LINVENT at aol.com LINVENT at aol.com
Thu Jan 26 10:28:55 CST 2012

Dear Dave,
     I fully agree. In a large company which is using it's own resources to 
develop technology, they can budget for the hindsight type of process. I 
have never seen a budget for this type of work ever provided and should be. 
Many of the contracts with DOE which funds these projects as I understand are 
not available and although publically funded, should be available for review 
for this determination. Also, a lot of the information provided is not 
detailed technical information, but just accounting which of course defeats 
DOE's role in technical support of development. 
     There is also a "not my child" "fatherless" "orphan" (to be polite) 
syndrome in the personnel involved try to distance themselves from the failure 
as it isn't a good reference. When asked about their participation, they 
will respond with oblique answers like "I only worked on a small part of it 
which wasn't core to it's blah blah blah" running as fast as they can away 
from it. 
     I have recommended to the DOE that they compile a list of projects 
they have funded and the reasons they didn't meet goals. Some actually did 
technically, but not economically and were shut down after the DOE money ran 

Leland T. "Tom" Taylor 
Thermogenics Inc. 
In a message dated 1/25/12 5:11:41 PM, dccoote at mira.net writes:

> Some years ago I worked for a large US engineering company that built
> all sorts of complicated systems. One of the things they did very well
> was "lessons learnt". At the end of a project the project engineers were
> given time to put together documents describing what worked, what
> didn't, what tools had been built for the project, new techniques
> developed etc This information was stored in a central repository and
> made available for future projects. This stuff was an incredibly
> valuable resource as it saved engineering project managers large amounts
> of time and money.
> There have been a number of spectacular failures in the area of
> innovative biomass energy systems. I've found various bits and pieces on
> the WWW including this list that give some insight into what has gone
> wrong. But it's not clear that the lessons from the failed systems are
> being used to inform new plant development.
> Does anyone know of an academic or authoritative government report that
> collates  and presents information and analysis on what hasn't worked at
> places like Range Fuels? This would be a very useful aid for investors
> or governments asked to support innovative biomass energy projects. A
> reasonable question for a proponent of a new system would be how their
> system avoids the problems experienced by previous plants
> Cheers
> David
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