Gasoline obtained from biomass at 12 times the energy yield per acre compared with corn ethanol, is claimed by Cool Planet Biofuels, Camarillo, California. 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”.
Press material released by Cool Planet explains that its achievement is from use of advanced bio energy crop, giant miscanthus, developed at the University of Mississippi and obtained from a high yield plot by Repreve Renewables. Cool Plant also clarifies that the very high yield is based on nearly optimal growth conditions in California growing season providing 4000 gal/acre/yr. The firm estimates that 3000 gal/acre/yr should be achievable throughout the Midwest by selecting the proper energy crop for local conditions. At 3000 gal/acre/yr, the energy yield is perhaps 9X compared with corn ethanol.
Cool Planet has extensive patent coverage of its unique process for converting biomass to gasoline that is chemically identical to fossil gasoline. Modest quantities are currently made for evaluation including car fleet testing approved by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and U.S. EPA. It is splash blended with conventional pump gasoline. Effective vehicle carbon emissions reduction of 10% is sought as part of the reason for California testing. Blend ratio for the Cool Planet fuel with E10 gasoline is not given.
Cool Planet says its gasoline has no oxygenate, hence, is not subject to the ethanol blend wall and 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 firm’s gasoline is said to be carbon negative. This suggests ability for the drop in fuel to be mixed at any ratio with conventional gasoline wherever it becomes available during its 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. An interesting question is whether BP’s extensive commitment to bio fuels from energy grasses in central Florida may include production of gasoline along with or in place of ethanol. Use of Cool Planet bio gasoline in place of ethanol returns vehicle mpg to the same level as petroleum based fuel.