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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.



Indeed on their web sites BP and Google say they have invested.

- weird.

And I believe only slightly less that it is much like E-P says.



Thank you for your post. It was intelligent and insightful without all the skepticism and cynicism of others.


I would think that the $1.50 per gallon excludes taxes.

fred schumacher

Roger Pham is on the right track. He's thinking systematically. There is no magic bullet. We need to take a systems approach.

As a retired farmer, I can relate there are some huge advantages to a perennial crop, especially one that requires minimal inputs, like perennial grass biomass: lower establishment costs, less machinery, less fuel, less fertilizer, low maintenance. The land also gains: carbon sequestration, soil building instead of soil erosion, reduced toxic run-off and siltation. It's a classic two-for.

However, biomass based portable transportation-fuel production has to be combined with increased transportation efficiency. We can't continue burning fuel at the rate we have been, and projecting into the future present-day habits is not realistic.

A third major paradigm shift that's needed is to decouple organic molecule synthesis from conversion into usable nutrients. For thousands of years we have depended on plants, primarily annuals, to accomplish both tasks. If we let plants synthesize carbohydrates and proteins, but take over the conversion process ourselves, perennial plant-based agriculture could produce more food on fewer acres with less inputs. Why feed alfalfa to a cow to get milk when its 18% protein content could be directly accessed more efficiently. This could be the greatest unanticipated side-effect of biofuel research.

Henry Gibson

Small portable units should be put in North Dakota and convert flared natural gas to gasoline. Units could also be placed at Dakota gasification in that area to make liquid fuels out of their streams of CO and H2. ..HG..

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