By Boston Business Journal

Renewable fuels developer Joule Unlimited Inc. said John Podesta, a veteran of two White House administrations, has joined its board of directors.

Podesta was previously White House chief of staff under President Clinton, and more recently served as co-chair of President Obamaâ¿¿s transition. He is currently president and CEO of the Center for American Progress, a think tank he founded in 2003.

⿿I have seen and heard many proposals by renewable energy companies, and can unequivocally say that Joule has a technology and a system unlike any other, with industrial viability and a clear path to market within the next several years,⿝ Podesta said in a statement.

Joule, based in Cambridge, Mass., is seeking to create renewable fuels without the need for intermediates such as sugar, algal or agricultural biomass. The company says it has developed microorganisms that use sunlight, carbon dioxide and water to produce liquid hydrocarbons that are fungible with conventional diesel fuel.

Joule has dubbed its process ⿿helioculture,⿝ which centers on solar converter systems that can be set up in rows on any type of open land, including non-agricultural land.

With its process, Joule says, renewable diesel fuel could be produced at a cost of $30 a barrel, at a large scale, virtually anywhere in world. The company says itâ¿¿s on track to have its diesel commercially available by 2012, and it could also produce ethanol and chemicals using the same process.

One acre of solar converter systems could produce 15,000 gallons of diesel per year, or 25,000 gallons of ethanol â¿¿ higher than the output of corn-based ethanol, according to Joule.

Bill Sims, president and CEO of Joule, said previously that the technology could de-centralize the fuel industry, allowing any region with access to land, sun, CO2 and water to produce its own fuel. The process is also environmentally friendly, he said, because the process can use non-fresh water along with waste carbon dioxide from power plants or other industrial facilities.

Copyright 2011 American City Business Journals

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