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Cool Planet projects production of carbon-negative high-octane biogasoline for $1.50 per gallon

Cool Planet’s process relies on three core elements: novel biomass fractionation, advanced catalysis, and a char-to-soil enhancer. Source: Cool Planet. Click to enlarge.

Cool Planet Energy Systems projects that using its patented mechanical process and novel scaling approach (earlier post), it will be able to produce high-octane carbon-negative (with the use of its bio-char byproduct) renewable gasoline at a cost of $1.50 per gallon, without the need for government subsidies.

Cool Planet uses a proprietary thermal/mechanical processor which directly inputs raw biomass such as woodchips, crop residue, algae, etc. and produces multiple distinct gas streams for catalytic upgrading to conventional fuel components. The company is also developing a range of simple one-step catalytic conversion processes which mate with the fractionator’s output gas streams to produce useful products such as eBTX (high octane gasoline), synthetic jet fuel and maximized fuel production from ultra-high yield energy crops.

The fast thermal processing of the biomass typically produces a large quantity of activated carbon, or bio-char; when the excess process carbon is used for fuel such as a coal substitute, the entire process is carbon neutral and, thus, produces both carbon neutral petrochemical compatible components and a carbon neutral coal substitute. If the bio-char is sequestered long-term as soil conditioner, the process results in up to a 150% carbon footprint reduction (according to a GREET-based calculation by the company).

In February, the company claimed it achieved a conversion yield of 4,000 gallons gasoline/acre biomass in pilot testing using giant miscanthus, an advanced bioenergy crop. (earlier post)

Cool Planet’s biofuel has already been successfully tested internally at its headquarters in Camarillo, CA and through a field trial by Google Inc. at their Mountain View, CA headquarters, with an OnDemand campus vehicle, known as GRide, which has operated seamlessly using this fuel for more than 2,400 miles.

By running on a 5% Cool Planet carbon negative fuel blended with 95% regular gasoline, the test car blend met California’s 2020 Low Carbon Fuel Standard—eight years ahead of schedule. The control car used 100% regular gasoline. The test car successfully passed 5 smog checks with no significant difference between cars. The total mileage of the test car was virtually the same as the control car, driving a total of 2,490 stop & go miles in the test car compared with 2,514 miles in the control car. Additionally, both the test car and the control car were virtually identical in emissions testing. Other field tests planned include a partnership with Ventura County, and another current investor fleet test to be run in California.

Unlike many other biofuel companies, Cool Planet’s carbon negative gasoline is price competitive because of the ingenuity behind our innovation. By mass producing mobile, pre-fabricated micro-refineries that are easily transportable to the biomass source, we significantly reduce costs of feedstock transportation, which maximizes our overall capital efficiency. Each micro-refinery is one hundred times smaller than a typical oil refinery and can produce 10 million gallons of fuel per year; this puts us in the running to compete with oil at $50 a barrel without any government mandates or subsidies.

—Howard Janzen, President and CEO at Cool Planet Energy Systems

Investors include General Electric, Google Ventures, BP, ConocoPhillips, NRG and the Constellation Energy division of Exelon.



I'd like to see a product cost which includes the cost of supplying, and especially shipping, the feedstock.  There are also indirect effects.  Converting cornfields to Miscanthus giganteus isn't going to be any better for food prices than ethanol, and any increase in rents for farmland is going to boost the price of everything that comes from it.


I can't see how this would do any better than algae:
'Scaling up the production of algal biofuels to meet at least 5%—approximately 39 billion liters—of US transportation fuel needs would place unsustainable demands on energy, water, and nutrients, according to a new report from the National Research Council.'


I like how they boldly go beyond simple exaggeration in their claims.

Timidity, in the pursuit of the elimination of oil importation, must be avoided.

No reason the PR should not be conducted similarly.


Im interrested to buy at 1.50$/gallon if it's not made with foods.


With negative carbon fuel, clean coal and clean tar sands, everybody will be a millionaire and will not have to pay taxes?

Unfortunately, the majority will believe it.


great :)


Telling the public of Cool Planet $1.50 gas, like Fox news, is entertaining.

Selling $1.50/gallon gas at my corner gas station is convincing.


Sigh. Yet another magic bullet that is going to replace gasoline for half the price. Don't these people even feel embarrassed when they make these claims?

Either they ignore major costs (cost of inputs, etc), or they flat out lie and either way it gets really old and stops investment in major items.

I had a guy try to get me to invest in a solid oxide fuel cell last week that he claimed was 60% efficient and only cost $400 to produce a 5kW unit. They claimed that it has been verified by independent universities over three years ago, but they weren't selling it yet because nobody would meet their price. LOL

I told him that if those claims are true then they are sitting on a couple trillion $ and they didn't have to get any money up front...just license it and collect royalties. What's that? Oh, you just need another $3 million to finish it up. LOL Sure, let me just cut you a check.

And all these fools wonder why nobody will take them seriously. But what always STUNS me is when I run across one of these and they've already managed to scam people out of millions of dollars on some half-wit idea that has no foundation in science.

So these guys can produce "carbon negative" gas for $1.50 a gallon? Well then, why didn't you say so! Here's a couple of trillion dollars because you just solved the worlds energy problems!!!

Thomas Lankester

Well the 'scam' in this case has taken money off BP and ConocoPhilips (as well as GE and Google) so at least some some of the 'bad guys' are being fleeced for a change.


Well, who knows...maybe one of these will turn out to be real. I'd be HAPPY to be wrong and see someone actually solve a huge problem like this.

I just don't believe it.


Is " this case has taken money off BP and ConocoPhilips ..(big oil)" good or bad?

Chevron and NiMH batteries again? Who's filled up with the 2010 Exxon/SGI $600 million being spent on algae biofuel? Anyone, maybe a dollar's worth?


This isn't Chevron and NiMH again; this is Range Fuels again.


Oops, 'Who's filled up with the *2009* Exxon/SGI $600 million being spent on algae biofuel?'


Mostly off topic, but this went beyond biofuels..


Why, when you laugh at "'carbon negative' gas for $1.50 a gallon" would you believe that they have taken money off BP, Conoco-Philips, GE and Google?


Sure.  Greenwashing isn't intended to make money.


Nobody should be surprised to see Big Oil in this 'stun'. Many will believe it and run the the local car dealer and buy huge V-8 gas guzzlers, thinking that gas will be $1.50/gal again.

This is probably one of many more similar 'stuns' to be financed by Big Oil in the next 10 years or so to fight the arrival of superior batteries and electrified vehicles.


A $37,000 LEAF with a 70 mile range has more to do with "holding back" EVs than renewable fuel.

Thomas Lankester


I did not 'believe' that BP, Conoco-Philips, GE and Google had invested in Cool-planet, I checked it out:

And note, I was not the one scoffing at this. That is why I was pointing out some big players had put in some investment and (one would think) due diligence. Google is certainly testing the results for themselves.

Personally, I can't see it as THE solution, $1.5 (even for the diminutive US gallon) may be optimistic and sourcing the non-food feedstock and its water supply may be problematic.


Of course we need to be skeptical. And "carbon-negative" is just BS - energy for the process and transportation, anyone?

But do we think it's categorically impossible to create biofuel from waste for some sort of reasonable price? What do we think is the current cost at volume at state of the art? We're sure $1.50 is off, but $2.50? $3.00?


I suspect that the charring/gasification process is the same as or similar to the one developed at the University of Hawaii, and it is powered entirely by the feedstock itself.  Downstream processing into liquid fuels may be exothermic.

The problem with this scheme is that it uses a feedstock in short supply compared even to gasoline demand, and uses it inefficiently.  Upwards of half the available energy remains in the char.  If you don't burn the char, it is indeed carbon-negative.

The value of the char might make this worthwhile.  Diesel farm equipment might be able to burn char in gasogenes to displace petroleum.  If the remaining char is either salable or usable to enhance soil, the result could have some serious possibilities even if the gasoline yield and price is nothing close to expectations.


Sorry, but we cannot "farm" our way out of the energy dilemma. The energy content per acre is laughably small.


30 million acres are now used for corn ethanol. Cool Planet claims 4000 gallons of synthetic gasoline per acre using Miscanthus, that is 120 billion gallons per year from that same land.


A gallon of EtOH has about 75% of the energy of a gallon of gasoline, so that would (assuming optimal rainfall, etc.) meet about 2/3 of US LDV fuel requirements (not heavy trucks).

If you electrify to cut the liquid fuel needs by ~2/3, the rest is suddenly easy.

Roger Pham

Well, considering that raw biomass has an average cost of $2.91 USD per 1 Million BTU = 293 kWh, while gasoline contains 33 kWh LHV, it follows that the raw cost of biomass is only $.50 per gallon, factoring in energy losses in the process. So, $1.50/ gallon of gasoline raw cost is not too unreliable. Adding profits, transportation and distribution cost, and we should see about $2.50/gallon gasoline. Not too unreasonable.

With the tight world-wide market for petroleum, the large majority of the price of gasoline nowaday is profit by the primary producers. Gasoline sold for under $2 a gallon not too many years ago, and surely cost has not nearly doubled for well-established wells in Saudi and Iraq, as these cost only a few dollars per barrel to extract the oil out. The rest is pure profit! Of course, deep off-shore oil will cost a lot more than established in-land wells, but still, not nearly as much as we are being charged today!

To make even more hydrocarbon from a given biomass feedstock amount, add renewable-energy H2 to it during the process and one can double the yield in comparison to the use of biomass alone. This will allow us to use entirely renewable energy for transportation using existing gasoline and diesel infrastructure. If we would use biomethane for transportation of trucks, and PHEV's are increasingly used for LDV's, then we will not need fossil-fuel ever again. Biomethane contains nearly twice as much H2 as medium and long chain hydrocarbon fuels, so the yield per unit of biomass will be even higher when adding renewable-energy H2 to the process.

Thus, we now have the technology to achieve petroleum independency and to eliminate the emission of GHG entirely, without having to resort to the "Drill, Baby, Drill" mentality!

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