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Colorado based renewable fuels firm, Cool Planet Energy Systems, has broken ground on a 10 million gallon (37.85 million litre) wood waste to biofuel facility in Alexandria, Louisiana – its fi­rst commercial scale plant.

The company explained that Permits for the facility, dubbed Project Genesis, have been received to begin earthwork and grading, with construction to follow immediately.

The facility is planned to produce high-octane, renewable gasoline blendstocks, as well as biochar, from sustainable wood residues.

Cool Planet said that the site was chosen because of its excellent wood biomass availability, interstate and rail access, and direct barge access to more than nine refineries.

Technology

The company said that its technology is capable of producing green gasoline from non-food sources that capture carbon from the air, and a biochar product that sequesters the carbon left over, thus enabling a carbon negative lifecycle.

The technology combines a mechanical front-end that processes the biomass with heat and pressure to turn it into gases. A proprietary catalyst then convert those gases directly into fuels, leaving the biochar.

Cool Planet added that the fuels are able to be blended directly into the current fuel supply to reduce greenhouse gases from the air without sacrifi­cing performance or increasing prices at the pump.

Business model

According to Basil Horangic, board member at Cool Planet, the company’s unique business model of building smaller, signi­ficantly less expensive facilities closer to the biomass feedstock, will allow it to expand rapidly, achieve lower scale-up risk, and continuously innovate and improve with each facility.

“This is a more sustainable model that will help Cool Planet commercialize its technology faster and deliver cost-competitive solutions to the agriculture and energy industries,” he explained.

The company said that Louisiana facility is expected to produce at least 24 direct jobs and bring at least $56 million in economic investment into the state.

Cool Planet’s investors include BP, Google Ventures, Energy Technology Ventures (GE, ConocoPhillips, NRG Energy), and the Constellation division of Exelon.

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