Bio-Fuel Plant Attracts Big Name Investors
The soaring prices of fuel don’t just affect the consumer who winces each time gas stations change their prices. It also affects industries, whose fuel consumption reflects the costs of their services and products. Cool Planet Energy systems says it has a solution for providing cheap energy, and has lined up a list of big name investors to build the first commercial processing plant to prove it’s as good as its word. The investors include BP, NRG, Conoco Phillips and Google Ventures.
Unlike many other plants that depend on large-scale corn production to produce their bio-fuel, Cool Planet uses compressed wood chips, crop wastes and other feedstock products, pressurizing them at high heat in an oxygen free environment. The process creates a vapor, which is then converted into fuel. Then waste product, bio-char, after being compressed again to produce more vapor, leaves a residue that can be used for fertilizer, water filters and even a substitute for wood pellets. The company is currently searching for bio-char buyers as they predict ten million gallons of fuel will produce 10,000 tons of bio-char. Unlike chemical fertilizers, the carbon will remain in the soil instead of being released into the atmosphere. As a result, Cool Planet claims their entire fuel production reduces carbon emissions by a significant amount.
Google Ventures has been conducting a field trial on the new fuel, blending it with conventional gasoline for vehicle test runs. After logging 2,940 miles in their test vehicle, the company stated the biofuel passed five smog tests and its emissions were “virtually identical” to the gasoline-only car.
Cool Planet is hoping to raise $100 for the first ten million gallon facility, along with covering the expenses for production and other corporate considerations. According to Howard Janzen, CEO of Cool Planet, the first plant would have a capital cost of $50 million, making its production less than the costs of crude oil.
Cool Planet currently has a pilot plant that can produce 50,000 gallons of bio-fuel per year, and is building another plant nearby that will produce 400,000 gallons yearly. If the ten million gallon facility goes into operation by 2014, it will be able to create bio-fuel at a cost as little as $1.50 a gallon.