Monday, August 24, 2009

Xethanol changes name, sells a plant

Gulf Alternative Energy Corporation, a Houston based plant traded in the pink sheets under the symbol GAEC, announced recently that it has agreed to purchase an ethanol-production facility formerly owned by Xethanol Biofuels LLC.

The plant, in Blairstown, Iowa, is designed to produce six million gallons of ethanol per year.

I regard the whole ethanol industry as it exists in the US at present as a creature of unwise subsidization, and the whole idea of putting someone else's potential foodstuff in my car and burning it strikes me as ... how shall I say this ... bad Karma. Xethanol itself was founded, though, with the intriguing idea of focusing on cellulosic ethanol -- that kind that does not come from foodstuffs. Wood chips and scrap paper have ethanol, but it is more difficult to use theirs because they also have cellulose. A break-through in this area would be very good news for everybody, but for that very reason it has been a domain for con artists too.

Xethanol, the seller of the plant, has changed its name, amid what I gather is a broadening of focus. It is now the Global Energy Holdings Group.

Still, the reason this struck me as worth sharing in this blog is that the seller of that plant, Xethanol, was the subject of the first target of an experiment in a "new model" for journalism that I have mentioned before here, the Sharesleuth website financied by Mark Cuban, run by Chris Carey.

Sharesleuth still exists, at least as a URL. The items on that website are all rather long in the tooth. I have no idea whether there is any news gathering activity still underway there. But I think any objective student of the situation will deign that, as an experiment, the results of this one are negative. However journalism in the future is to be financed, it will not be financed by finding companies to expose publicly in order to assist in a financier's short sales.

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