Louisiana is making an investment with Be Cool Energy to bring three bio-refineries to the state. The company will build the new bio-refinerys with a $168 million investment. The project will consist of modular biomass-to-gasoline refineries in Alexandria, Natchitoches and a site to be determined.
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. Cool Planet also will establish a regional office at the Port of Alexandria, where the City of Alexandria plans to make more than $500,000 in infrastructure improvements.
The state estimates that all told, over 500 jobs will be created through the project. 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. The company’s business model calls for developing 400 of the micro-refineries across the U.S. in the next decade. 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, the company will also 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.
The City of Alexandria will provide gas, water, sewer and electrical upgrades, along with road improvements at the 30-acre Port of Alexandria site. Upriver from Alexandria, the Natchitoches Parish Port will provide a Red River site for Cool Planet’s second bio-refinery in Louisiana.