A Conversation with Naveen Sikka: An Insider’s Look into Biofuels

Posted on 29. Jul, 2010 by in Business & Policy, Clean Tech, Interviews

On Monday, Opportunity Green had the chance to speak with Naveen Sikka about biofuels and specifically his company, TerViva.

Click here to listen to the full interview.

TerViva has developed an environmentally-responsible biofuel that extracts non-edible oils from the seeds of the Pongamia tree. Using their promising method, the energy output of a gallon of their diesel is significantly more than the energy used to produce that gallon.

1. What stage is TerViva at right now? Have you begun production?

We’ve just begun our first tree plantings in locations across the US Southwest.  These plantings will serve as the basis for further, larger-scale plantings in 2011 and 2012.

2. The global market for biodiesel is poised for explosive growth in the next ten years; how do you see TerViva fitting into the biodiesel market?

We envision TerViva as the provider of the lowest cost and most environmentally-friendly form of biodiesel.  We are excited that many companies are pursuing many different pathways to produce biodiesel – we have much to do as an industry to displace petroleum.  But some of those companies will produce expensive fuels, or fuels of questionable environmental benefit.

3. What’s your next big strategic phase as a company? Will TerViva be consumer facing?

Because of the product that we produce – transportation fuel – the biggest challenge for TerViva (like all biodiesel companies) is scalability. Our goal is to produce millions of gallons of fuel in five years, and to clearly identify our product as ‘best in class’ in terms of economics and the environment.

4. How do you plan on selling your product? Are you raising venture capital funding?

Our goal is to collaborate in the ecosystem in which we exist, thereby creating jobs and spreading the wealth.  So we currently work with local landowners, farmers, and field crews in the regions in which we are planting trees.  We are in the process of identifying existing biodiesel refiners who would like to partner with TerViva.

TerViva has raised seed funding, but needs additional money to plant more trees.   We are in active discussions with venture capitalists, private equity firms and other sources of capital.  It’s not a great time to be raising money, but we’ve had great receptivity so far from investors.

Click here to listen to Naveen’s full interview.

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3 Responses to “A Conversation with Naveen Sikka: An Insider’s Look into Biofuels”

  1. A. Berg

    29. Jul, 2010

    Great piece! It sounds like Naveen is doing a lot of cool things. Looking forward to watching the company grow.

  2. dgcassets

    18. Jul, 2012

    great to see pongamia use spreading. Our investors have opartiinvested in a pongamin plantation in the Southern Hemisphere – and by all accounts the p[rojects is on track to deliver exceptioanl returns at first harvest this year. Great work and keep it up.
    David Garner
    DGC Asset Management

  3. SEO in Chennai

    20. Jul, 2012

    Brave new world! Cheers Naveen

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