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Biofuels Start-Up Adds BP as Investor

Corn stover in bales (ARS/USDA)

(Agricultural Research Service/USDA)

Cool Planet BioFuels in Camarillo, California says BP Technology Ventures has made an investment in the company’s C round — the third series of equity investments after start up. The amount of the investment by BP’s venture capital division was not disclosed.

Current investors in Cool Planet Biofuels also include General Electric, Google Ventures, ConocoPhillips, NRG, North Bridge Venture Partners, and Shea Partners that led the C round.

The company is developing a bio-based renewable, reduced carbon gasoline that can be blended with conventional gasoline and used in today’s vehicles, unlike ethanol that requires adjustments in automobile engines. Its technology, called biomass fractionator, uses non-food biomass feedstocks such as wood chips and crop residues that are processed into gas streams. Those gas streams are then converted into conventional fuels, such as high-octane gasoline and diesel fuel.

The Cool Planet process leaves behind excess carbon as biochar, a high purity solid. This biochar, says the company, can be converted into a soil enhancer, adding to the soil’s fertility, while also serving as a way of sequestering carbon from the atmosphere, instead of emitting the carbon in the form of a greenhouse gas.

In addition to BP and ConocoPhillips, several other energy companies are in the process of testing and evaluating Cool Planet’s fuel. The company says it plans to build hundreds of relatively low cost modular plants around the country in the next few years to convert available biomass waste products without incurring high transportation costs.

Read more: Genetically Altered Algae Increases Biomass for Biofuels

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