In the face of rising gas prices and increasing turmoil in the Middle East, President Barack Obama today called for a one-third cut in oil imports by 2020. The President’s plan to accomplish this goal relies on a variety of energy sources including increased domestic oil and gas production.
But the aspect of the President’s plan that is of particular interest to our company is his call to increase biofuels production and use. Specifically, the President wants at least four commercial-scale refineries producing cellulosic ethanol or advanced biofuels to break ground within the next two years to help launch next generation biofuels in America.
My company has been making steady progress toward the commercialization of cellulosic ethanol for more than a decade. But the 2007 Renewable Fuel Standard, along with support from the Department of Energy and the Iowa Power Fund, allowed us to dramatically speed up our efforts. Today, we have an operating pilot facility producing cellulosic ethanol from corn cobs and light stover and plans to construct a full-scale commercial plant later this year.
Our model for cellulosic ethanol builds on the foundation of our 1.7 billion gallons of corn ethanol production capacity. We will bolt cellulosic technology onto our corn ethanol plants so that we can benefit from the infrastructure that is already in place and our existing relationships with farmers, many of whom are investors in those plants. The corn ethanol plants will also become more efficient because a byproduct of the cellulosic will be used to power both the cellulosic and corn ethanol production facilities. Because we use a waste product to produce cellulosic ethanol and generate power, an independent report found that our process reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 111 percent in comparison to gasoline. Cellulosic ethanol is a carbon sink, not a carbon producer.
IBM is looking to help marketers gain insight from the treasure trove of data strewn across social networks with its release, on Thursday, of two cloud-based applications.
IBM Coremetrics Social is designed to aid companies in their analysis of the business impact of their social marketing initiatives. The software uses information that is publicly available on sites such as Facebook and Twitter to enable companies to determine the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns based on social media buzz, retweets, and other online chatter.
Also released on Thursday, IBM Unica Pivotal Veracity Email Optimization Suite analyzes email links that are shared across social media platforms, giving marketers the ability to leverage opportunities across multiple communications channels, according to IBM.
“IBM’s approach to social media analytics is based on the understanding that people interact with an organization’s brand in a number of ways — including email, social networking sites, and company websites — and the true measure of business impact demands a fully integrated view of the interaction with these resources,” said John Squire, chief strategy officer, IBM Coremetrics, in a statement. “The new social media analytics software unveiled [on Thursday] will help marketers develop more targeted, highly measurable, and effective social media marketing campaigns.”
Like its competitors, IBM is looking to dominate this emerging field, and recently formed a consulting practice to focus on “Smarter Commerce,” designed to help clients address today’s digital marketplace — which IBM estimates to be a $70-billion opportunity. The new practice offers cloud analytics software that lets businesses monitor their brand’s social media presence in real-time, and adapt marketing campaigns or create promotions based on consumers’ responses, IBM said.
IBM has announced its collaboration with Cable & Wireless Worldwide to provide millions of smart energy meters to UK households. With this partnership the company is challenging its rivals including BT, Vodafone and Telefonica O2 UK, which have already planned to service Britain’s smart energy grid.
Smart energy meters will provide instant measurements of usage to energy companies with accurate bills and pricing plans.
The study found that a majority of consumers say the top reasons they interact with companies via social sites are to receive discounts and make purchases, but companies rank those as the least likely reasons customers will follow them.
Nothing like understanding your customer!
Instead, businesses overestimate consumers’ desire to interact with the companies, believing consumers hope to feel connected or be part of a community.
"The customers really just want to be our social media friends! They want to engage with us!" Talk about naive. The customer wants something tangible, you dopes, not to be pummeled on Facebook and Twitter by a marketing barrage thinly disguised as social media chit-chat.
Also, most consumers won’t deal with companies via social media if they suspect dubious motives. The IBM study showed that more than 60 percent of respondents must “believe a company is communicating honestly before they will interact,” Dow Jones reports.
Bottom line on social media for companies: Keep it real.
UConn reactor uses more efficient process to make biodiesel fuel
Deep inside the University of Connecticut’s chemical engineering building in Storrs, Professor Richard Parnas and a team of students quietly monitor a murky brown emulsion bubbling inside an enormous 6-inch diameter glass tube like doctors carefully observing a patient undergoing surgery.
…Parnas’ patented biodiesel reactor is unique in both its simplicity and efficiency. In conventional biodiesel production, vegetable oil is converted into biodiesel fuel and glycerol, a byproduct of the conversion process. Then, the glycerol must be mechanically separated from the diesel fuel, as part of a two-step process. Parnas’ reactor is different in that it uses gravity, heat, and natural chemical reactions to make the biodiesel and separate the glycerol in one step.
IBM’s recently announced Smarter Customer solution shifts CMO and CIO thinking about social business intelligence from point oriented data capture and data mining to a process driven, systematic approach to Customer Experience Management.(CEM). While providing enterprise with the means to create measurable business value in social media, collaboration and consumer analytics, IBM has perhaps unwittingly also birthed the next e-business phase, the pragmatic web. Bottom Line: Game Changer.