Last week the Texas Tribune reported on an Austin startup, Omni Water Solutions, which is working on technology that recycles the roughly 4 to 6 million gallons of water required per well to frack natural gas. We don’t normally think about cleantech as being about cleaning up the messes that the fossil fuels industry creates, but as Ucilia Wang recently pointed out, the cleantech sector is embracing oil and natural gas as a partner. Or more hopefully as a future parent company.
I don’t think anyone ever truly thought the fossil fuel industry would get displaced in the next few decades. And many of these companies are just efficiency and to certain extents, regulatory requirement investments. They also can act as PR for big oil so fossil fuel businesses appear to be interested in managing their footprint.
I think what’s most interesting to me is that the large oil companies still aren’t that worried about a coming shift in energy sourcing. Or they’d be buying solar panel makers and snapping up biofuel startups. But they’re still so confident that we’re at least a century away from a renewable energy economy. And by 2113, the climate change calculus likely will be very different than it is today.