Vinod Khosla may be a “venture-capital star” who is now putting a lot of money into biofuels — but he is no clean-tech expert, as he proved during a keynote address at ThinkEquity Partners’ ThinkGreen conference in San Francisco. In remarks that should worry anybody relying on his judgment, Khosla said:
Forget plug-ins. They are nice toys. But they will not be material to climate change.
Very, very wrong. Plug-ins are likely to be a central strategy for dealing with climate change. I hope cellulosic ethanol will be, but that still remains to be seen.
Contrary to what Khosla says, affordable cellulosic ethanol probably requires a major breakthrough — and to play a major role in climate change, it needs a major new infrastructure investment. I recently test-drove a prototype plug-in that avoids the need for a battery breakthrough (more on that after the Detroit auto show). And plug-ins don’t need a major new infrastructure investment. They are not toys.
Khosla should stick with what he knows.