By: Jim Lane
February 27, 2014
In Louisiana, Cool Planet Energy Systems broke ground on the company’s first commercial facility in Alexandria, Louisiana, dubbed Project Genesis. Permits have been received to begin earthwork and grading, with construction to immediately follow.
The facility is designed to produce 10 million gallons per year of high-octane, renewable gasoline blendstocks, as well as biochar, all made from sustainable wood residues.
The facility will be located at the Port of Alexandria, on the Red River Waterway in Central Louisiana. The site was chosen because of its excellent wood biomass availability, interstate and rail access, and direct barge access to more than nine refineries. The facility is expected to produce at least 24 direct jobs and bring at least $56 million in economic investment into the state. Estimates are that an additional 150 indirect jobs will result because of this facility, and 350 construction jobs will be utilized.
Timeline to scale
This first commercial plant at the Port of Alexandria will begin operations in late 2014. Construction will begin on the second bio-refinery at the Port of Natchitoches by the summer of 2015, with a completion date in the summer of 2016. The third site is scheduled to come online in late 2016 at a Louisiana site to be determined.
Reaction from Cool Planet
“Today’s groundbreaking is an important step forward in our plan to aggressively commercialize Cool Planet’s technology,” said CEO Howard Janzen. “We could not have picked a better location to build our first commercial facility and start transforming the nation’s fuel and food supplies.”
“Cool Planet’s unique business model of building smaller, significantly less expensive facilities closer to the biomass feedstock, will allow them to expand rapidly, achieve lower scale-up risk, and continuously innovate and improve with each facility,” said Cool Planet Board Member Basil Horangic. “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.”
Cool Planet strategic investors include BP, Google Ventures, Energy Technology Ventures (GE, ConocoPhillips, NRG Energy), and the Constellation division of Exelon.
Cool Planet’s technology turns biomass into green fuels and biochar and has the capability to be carbon negative. The company’s green 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. The biochar product sequesters carbon and delivers transformative benefits to industries as diverse as agriculture, chemicals and pharmaceuticals. As a soil amendment, field trials of the company’s Cool Terra™ biochar with commercial growers have shown yield improvements of more than 50% with significant reductions in fertilizer and water use.
Read the complete article at Biofuels Digest.