My entrepreneurship efforts are in the field of Telecoms and the Internet where I founded Viatel, Jazztel, Ya.com, Einsteinet and now Fon. My investments however are in alternative energies. Together with partners I have built an 18MW wind farm that we are expanding in the process of expanding to 50MW and we are also in the process of asking permits for solar and wind energy for another aprox 150MW.
I invest in alternative energies for two main reasons, one is because I believe I can make money with them and two because I, like many others (but unfortunately not enough others), believe that burning fossil fuels is bad for the environment and bad for global peace. Today however I was presented with a potential investment in biodiesel and so far, while convinced that it can be a money maker, I have concluded that biodiesel production is not a sustainable and decided against the investment. Why? Mainly because in a world in which over a billion people go hungry how can we morally justify burning food to drive cars?
In my view the solution to transportation in the short term lies in the use of hybrid cars ( I drive one) and simply smaller lighter cars. In the long term however I think the real solution will be hydrogen cars which will not polute and will be fueled from renewable energy sources. When I was a child my father, Carlos Manuel Varsavsky, had the idea to build Aluar while working for Manuel Madanes a very successful Argentine industrialist now deceased. The key to Aluar´s tremendous success was its location, Patagonia. Patagonia has a lot of hydroelectric energy potential but very few electricity consumers so an aluminum smelter by the sea that converted alumina from Australia and turned into aluminum using hydroelectric energy made tremendous sense then as it does now, 30 years later. Aluar has made billions of dollars in profits since it was built. While my father died in 1983 I am quite convinced that the 2006 of Carlos Varsavsky would be to do the same, but for hydrogen production. It is clear to me that we have to scout around the world for locations with tremendous renewable energy potential and no people, Patagonia is still one of them. The artic zone and Antartica lwith their tremendous wave energy, tidal energy and wind energy potential look like others.
Biodiesel has some advantages but as the wikipedia says there would not be enough arable land in the United States to meet the energy needs of the transportation energy needs of the United States. This is not a sustainable solution. Now hydrogen may also not be a sustainable solution if its made out of fossil fuels. The Bush administration has been talking a lot about hydrogen cars but they are not working enough on the source of the hydrogen being renewable. Hydrogen made of renewable sources is the key. In the meantime as traffic jams increase around the world, hybrid cars make tremendous sense, and some biodiesel or diesel powered hybdrid cars would make an even better interim solution.
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