Small Business Tip: Start-Up Transforms Algae into Black Gold

A San Francisco-based start-up, Solazyme Inc, has been selected to develop the world’s first 100 percent algae-derived fuel for use in jets and Navy ships.

blogLaunched in a garage in 2003, Solazyme is working to reduce the cost of green fuels. The Solazyme research team produces natural oils from algae through fermentation as a basis for renewable fuels. The oils and bio-materials are used as fuels or replacements for fossil-derived petroleum and a variety of other natural plant oils and compounds used in everything from cosmetics to foods.

Solazyme has completed a lot of the preliminary work on developing the green fuels and is now working on creating a large scale production process. The green fuel firm is now hunting for a partner to set up a factory for large scale production. Solazyme is working to get the cost of the fuel to a range of about $60 to $80 per barrel and have a production facility online by 2012.

Small Business Tip: Green Videos & Free Going Green to Save Green Guide

Entrepreneurs and small business owners are driving innovation today…..literally! recycleSmall business owners and self-employed professionals are taking part in a two year test of hydrogen fuel-cell powered vehicles. Click here to hear from one of the test-drivers and see what the hydrogen fuel test cars look like.

Small business owners are also starting from the ground up in going green in business. Government incentives and energy savings are two reasons small business owners are choosing to build green. Click here to learn more about green building initiatives and incentives on the small business level.

Small business owners don’t have to remodel or redesign their facility to go green. Small changes can add up to big savings and impact in daily business procedures. Reduce, recycle and reuse can make a big difference for the environment and a small business budget. An added benefit of going green in business is your customers and community may note your efforts. One way to increase community awareness is featuring neat and well placed recycling bins to promote environmental awareness in your enterprise.

You may also consider teaming up with neighboring firms to reduce collection service costs and space needed for recycling and dumpsters. In many cases it can reduce the costs of your trash pick-up.

These are a few of the energy saving efforts around my office:

  • Minimize use of phantom-power devices with timers, unplug them when not in use, or plug such appliances and chargers into power strips and turn them off when not in use.
  • Switch to energy-saving compact fluorescent or LED lighting products.
  • Eliminate energy waste – locate leaks around windows, doors and other building features and install weatherization products.
  • Explore LED and other innovative energy-saving lighting options.
  • Maximize daylight in your business.
  • Install a water-filtration device on your drinking faucets instead of using bottled water – or just drink the tap water.
  • Purchase used or reconditioned office furniture or store fixtures.

There are also some great tips, techniques and initiatives in a new whitepaper for small business owners, titled, “How to Be Green and Stay Lean: How Being Sustainable Can Save Your Business Money.” The new report is the first in a multi-topic whitepaper series produced especially for entrepreneurs and small business owners by Sam’s Club. You can access the green whitepaper by clicking here.

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Small Business Tip: Green Idea Could Win Technology for Your Business

Going green can save more than the environment; it can make represent a big money savings in a small business budget. 

Green business efforts can also make a make a big difference for existing customers, potential clients and business partners looking to support sustainable business practices. A small business contest is underway looking for the best tip for going green in small business. Small Business Trends is looking to uncover the Top 100 Tips for Going Green in Your Business.

  The best green tip submitted wins a new HP desktop computing suite.   You have until October 7, 2009 to submit your tip.  You may enter online or get more details with a click here.

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VC investors Are Optimistic about Green Technology

Venture capital investors are counting on the green according to a new report.

Venture capital investment in green technologies totaled $1.2 billion in 85 deals in the second quarter of 2009, up from $836 million in 59 deals in the first quarter, according to a report from Greentech Media .

Solar power was once again the leading investment segment at more than $330 million, Greentech’s analysis found.

You can learn more about the top green businesses at

What is Your Idea of a Economic Stimulus? How much of the Bailout Could You Claim?

Work is underway in Washington to rev up the economy.  I recently heard someone ask, if lawmakers just gave all the stimulus and bailout money to taxpayers, just how much would the check be?  I pulled out the calculator and a friend to double-check the numbers.

If you take the $700 billion in the bank bailout and then add the stimulus the House of Representatives approved the total is $1.519 trillion dollars!  If you divide the $1.519 trillion dollars by the number of taxpayers, about 156.3 million who filed last year; it equals a bailout check of $9, 718.49 per each taxpayer.

But government leaders want to do more than pass out money.  Goals for the economic stimulus plan include restoring the nation’s economic competitiveness, creating jobs and developing green technologies. Those green technologies are already creating jobs for some businesses.

Cardinal Fastener is an Ohio company expecting to get a boost from the proposed multibillion-dollar economic recovery plan.  The small manufacturer makes hot forged, large-diameter, high-strength fasteners for construction, heavy machinery, bridges, oil exploration and energy generation. President Obama has made modernizing the nation’s vast power network a key piece of his $819 billion economic stimulus plan, approved by the House of Representatives.

Cardinal’s products are also in demand in the alternative energy industry. The Ohio firm began building bolts and other wind turbine parts just two years ago and is on the way to make half its earnings that way.  Founder John Grabner expects green energy to account for 90% of growth in the future.

Another Ohio firm is poised to expand with the stimulus plan.   The Cleveland Group of Companies as the name implies, is a diverse small business with divisions including construction, consulting, construction supply and real estate services.  The firm plans to compete for a wide variety of public and private projects in 2009.   Founder Eddy Zai, believes his company is ready for the new economic climate; “Americans have done business a certain way for the last 20 years, and it’s time to figure out how to do business for the next 20 years, and adapt to the new world economy.”

What form of economic stimulus do you prefer?  How big would your bailout be?  Let me know what you think!