LA: Cool Planet Energy Systems Investing $168M in 3 Bio-Refineries
26 Aug, 2013
Cool Planet Energy Systems, a Denver-based company, announced it will build three bio-refineries in Louisiana with a capital investment of $168 million. The project will consist of modular biomass-to-gasoline refineries in Alexandria, Natchitoches and a site to be determined. The three projects will create 72 new direct jobs, averaging $59,600 per year, plus benefits. The Natchitoches Parish bio-refinery will be built at the Port of Natchitoches, creating 24 new jobs with a capital investment of $56 million.
“Cool Planet chose Louisiana for multiple reasons, including abundant renewable feedstock supply and a business-friendly attitude toward innovative companies like ours,” Cool Planet Energy Systems CEO Howard Janzen said. “The support we have seen here enhances our unique distributed production model, which envisions locating small bio-refineries near biomass sources to keep both operating and capital costs low. Our goal is to have operating and capital costs that are competitive with conventional oil industry gasoline production costs."
Cool Planet will harvest wood waste and forest byproducts to make gasoline at its initial commercial-scale facilities in Louisiana. Each bio-refinery will be capable of producing 10 million gallons of high-octane, low-vapor pressure gasoline for strategic distribution through existing market channels and for blending at Louisiana refineries. The fuel will be compatible for use in existing vehicles on the road today. Major Cool Planet investors include BP, Google Ventures, Energy Technology Ventures (GE, ConocoPhillips and NRG Energy), North Bridge Venture Partners, Shea Ventures and the Constellation division of Exelon.
Using a proprietary process, Denver-based Cool Planet also will market biochar, a byproduct of the refining process that will be used as an agricultural supplement to boost water retention and reduce carbon released from crops. This process makes Cool Planet’s overall production cycle a carbon-negative process – meaning the project will achieve a net reduction of greenhouse gases
Governor Bobby Jindal along with state and local elected officials and economic development leaders celebrated the news today at an announcement held in Alexandria, La.
“These bio-refineries are great news for Alexandria, Natchitoches and our entire state. For decades, Louisiana’s oil and gas leaders have teamed up with our remarkable workforce to pave the way in energy production for our nation and the world. Because of our constantly improving business climate, abundance of resources and dedicated workforce, we are now setting the pace for innovative new technologies that harness Louisiana’s renewable energy resources and supply advanced fuels to meet our nation’s energy demands," said Gov. Jindal.
Cool Planet will begin construction in January 2014, with the first site at the Port of Alexandria beginning 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.
“We are excited about the opportunity to partner with Cool Planet Energy Systems on their new bio-refinery at the Natchitoches Parish Port,” said President Ralph Ingram Jr. of the Natchitoches Port Commission. “The proposed facility will be a tremendous asset for not only the port but also for Natchitoches Parish and the surrounding area.”
Cool Planet’s production plants will be 100 times smaller than a typical oil refinery, but the company’s largely prefabricated systems can be moved near concentrated biomass sources, reducing transportation costs and increasing efficiency. Those savings will enable the company to produce gasoline that’s competitive with oil refineries at prices as low as $50 per barrel while eliminating the need for government fuel credits or subsidies.
“We are very excited that Cool Planet Energy Systems is not only creating new jobs for our local economy but doing it in an environmentally responsible manner,” said Natchitoches Parish President Rick Nowlin.
North Louisiana Economic Partnership began working last September with state partner, Louisiana Economic Development (LED), and local partners to recruit Cool Planet Energy Systems to our region. To secure the project, Louisiana offered the company a competitive incentive package that includes a $750,000 Economic Development Award Program grant to offset infrastructure costs, along with the services of LED FastStart® – the nation’s No. 1-ranked state workforce training program. Cool Planet also is expected to utilize the state’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs.
“North Louisiana Economic Partnership and the Natchitoches community are pleased to welcome Cool Planet Energy Systems to North Louisiana,” NLEP President Scott Martinez said. “Cool Planet’s environmentally friendly bio-refineries produce more than just fuel from wood waste, the plants produce much-needed jobs for the area.”
About Cool Planet
Headquartered in Greenwood Village, Colo., outside Denver, and with research facilities in Camarillo, Calif., Cool Planet is deploying disruptive technology through capital-efficient, small-scale bio-refineries, to economically convert nonfood biomass into high-octane gasoline, jet fuel and diesel fuel. The process also generates value through biochar production, which can be returned to the soil, enabling fertilizer and water retention for increased crop productivity and more robust plant health. The process can be carbon-negative, removing up to 150 percent of the carbon footprint for every gallon used, reversing the consequences of fossil fuels. Cool Planet’s technology has a broad portfolio of pending and granted patents. Global investors include BP, Google Ventures, Energy Technology Ventures (GE, ConocoPhillips, NRG Energy) and the Constellation division of Exelon. For more information, visit www.coolplanet.com.
About North Louisiana Economic Partnership
NLEP is a public-private partnership dedicated to the positive and sustainable economic development of the 14 parishes it serves in North Louisiana. The NLEP and its many partners work with both existing and prospective companies to facilitate the attraction and retention of capital investment and meaningful job opportunities in our region.