Biofuel with12x energy yield per acre announced
“CoolPlanet BioFuels N100 fuel is quite possibly the most economical way to actually remove carbon from the atmosphere permanently and, thus, reverse the effects of global warming,” says the CoolPlanet Energy Systems website.
Based in Camarillo, California, the company announced in February 2012, that it had developed major advances in renewable cellulosic gasoline - with 12 times the energy yield per acre when compared with corn ethanol.
Not only is the fuel energy efficient, it is also cost-sensitive. Based on recent field tests and cost analysis, the firm claims that “total energy and biomass feedstock cost based on today’s commodity pricing, is under 60 cents per gallon”.
CoolPlanet Energy Systems explains that its achievement is through the use of the advanced bio energy crop, giant miscanthus, developed at the University of Mississippi and obtained from a high yield plot by Repreve Renewables.
“These test results are based on nearly optimal crop growth conditions, and demonstrate what is possible in a good growing season. Under more routine growing conditions, we estimate yields of about 3,000 gallons/acre should be achievable throughout the Midwest by selecting the proper energy crop for local conditions,” says Mike Cheiky, CoolPlanet’s founder and CEO. At 3,000 gal/acre/ yr, the energy yield is approximately nine times that of corn ethanol.
CoolPlanet has extensive patent coverage of its unique process for converting biomass to gasoline, which is chemically identical to fossil gasoline. Agricultural waste from food crops can also produce up to 1,000 gallons of gasoline/acre using this new technology. The process creates ultra-high surface area carbon in an intermediate step of the conversion process. The company says that the total process time from biomass to fuel is less than one hour.
Modest quantities have been manufactured for evaluation, and CoolPlanet has received California (CARB) and U.S. EPA approval for fleet testing as a splash blend with conventional pump gasoline. An effective vehicle carbon emissions reduction of 10% is sought as part of the California testing. However, the blend ratio for the CoolPlanet fuel with E10 gasoline has not yet been released.
CoolPlanet says its gasoline has no oxygenate, and therefore is not subject to the ethanol blend wall. It can be seamlessly mixed with conventional pump gasoline. By unique removal of carbon during production of the fuel for sequestration or use as fertilizer, the gasoline has a very low or even negative carbon rating. This suggests that the fuel can be mixed at any ratio with conventional gasoline whenever it becomes available, during market phase in or regular use.
The company is currently designing “mass production modules for ready deployment around the U.S. and the world”. The firm has affiliations with BP, GE, ConocoPhillips, NRG Energy and Constellation Energy, and expects to conclude additional affiliations soon. CoolPlanet plans to install several plants over the next two years with rapid build out thereafter “to provide a significant amount of the world’s liquid fuel by 2020.”
The use of CoolPlanet biofuel in place of ethanol returns vehicle mpg to the same level as petroleum-based fuel. An interesting question is whether BP’s extensive commitment to biofuels from energy grasses in central Florida may include production of gasoline along with, or in place of, ethanol?