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Google Ventures Funds Cool Planet to Produce Carbon-Negative Biofuels

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bg-home-01Biofuels have attracted quite a bit of attention over the past decade. The field started off very strong and showed a lot of potential, but as the production grew, many experts started questioning whether it is a good idea to trade food resources for fuel, diminishing the glory that the bio product once had. Now, a new startup, called Cool Planet, has taken up the task to prove to everyone that fuel can be carbon negative, without having to interfere with food production. It seems they are managing, especially since they successfully persuaded Google to be one of the primary investors in the venture.

The guys behind Cool Planet have quite a task in front of them, especially since EPA and the EU have recently tried to put biofuel production on hold. In order to differ from the many competitors, who have been making liquid biofuel from crop residue for years, the company opt for making biochar as well. This is essentially a fertilizer-like product, that when added to the soil, boosts agricultural yield and keeps carbon in the soil at the same time, limiting pollution, and stimulating food production.

However, biochar is not the only bullet the company has. Taking into account all the mistakes made by their ancestors, the guys from Cool Planet are planning to use only plants and residue from plants that are not in direct competition with food production, such as corn for example. The biofuel itself will be sold as is, and as a blend that could be added to traditional fuel. They also intent to build many small facilities, instead of a localized big one, so that the biomass does not have to be transported over long distances, which will limit the carbon footprint and the costs. Last but not least, the company is also looking into selling carbon credits

The proposal must have been truly impressive, considering that it managed to secure $100 million coming from major investors such as Google Ventures, BP, General Electric and ConocoPhillips. The money will go towards building of commercial plants. The construction of their first facility is already on the go in Louisiana, where they will soon be building another two.

Image (c) Cool Planet

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1 COMMENT

  1. Mila,
    The diesel
    engine was introduced, I’m told, at the 1900 World’s Fair, running on peanut
    oil.  Since then, the diesel engine has
    been converted to run on “petroleum based” diesel (a by-product of gasoline
    refinement).
    Producing
    Veggie Fuels, strictly for diesels would certainly not interfere with food
    production, and would certainly not jeopardize agricultural production of any
    kind.
    Veggie fuel
    production on a massive national scale would be accepted by all peoples and
    industry once everyone realizes one fact:
    Electric
    motors can now propel autos (AC or DC); and an on-board veggie fueled TDI diesel
    generator can provide electric for those motors (all but eliminating lithium
    batteries).
    As we speak
    VW will produce a “hybrid” auto getting over 200mpg; Cadillac ELR plug-in is an
    EV with a “gas” powered generator (close, good attempt); and Tesla is an EV that desperately
    needs an on-board TDI diesel generator (hopefully running on Veggie fuel).
    The concept
    is pretty basic and the veggie planting, harvesting and refining can be set-up
    nationally, along the line of Tesla’s recharging and battery swapping stations –
    controlled, of course, by the oil companies (to offset the reduction in
    drilling)

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