Using a proprietary process, Denver-based Cool Planet 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.
"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."
Additionally, these projects will benefit Louisiana's timber industry. Cool Planet recently met in Washington, D.C., with both the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency to ensure that the wood residues the company will be using in its first commercial facility will be federally certified as producing a renewable, cellulosic gasoline from the sustainably harvested wood products right here in Louisiana.
Cool Planet will be able to use wood residues -- such as the tops of trees, branches, tree bark and tree thinnings -- that will create additional value for our Louisiana forest owners and timber management companies. The wood chips that Cool Planet uses are sustainably harvested and included as part of the federally approved pathway for the renewable fuel standard.
In addition to the renewable, high-octane gasoline to be produced, Cool Planet will be returning a portion of the wood residues back to the land. The company will do this in the form of soil-enhancing biochar, with a patented process that helps maintain critical water and nutrients in the soil. The whole process has the ability to reduce greenhouse gases by 150 percent over conventional gasoline, creating a win for the environment, the agricultural community and the State of Louisiana.
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.
"Alexandria is very excited to contribute resources to the economic development of our area. This development will help attract new business to the area and create new jobs," said Alexandria Mayor Jacques M. Roy. "Alexandria is serious about creating a highly desirable environment for business development. This is precisely the type of smart technology we want to support - capitalizing on our principal resource of timber - and seeing the Alexandria region continue to attract and house biofuel companies. In addition to timber and healthcare, this niche is attractive and even in its infancy very notable as a future capacity here at home - not only an important accomplishment for the industry, but a critical step toward a viable alternative energy future for the nation."