Biofuel-Powered Car One Step Closer to Reality
Whether it’s data storage or photo editing, Google knows the up and comers that are likely to be successful. That’s why it’s encouraging to hear that the company has been using a biofuel blend to run a fleet vehicle at the search giant’s Mountain View, Calif. campus.
Google Ventures recently invested in Cool Planet Biofuels, so it’s no surprise that they got a first look at this promising alternative fuel. Cool Planet makes a “carbon-negative” biofuel blended with 95 percent regular gasoline. Unlike ethanol, which has been controversial because it consumes food crops and still burns dirty, the Cool Planet fuel is made only from non-food biomass. Using the company’s proprietary two-step thermal processing technology, wood chips, agricultural waste like corn stover, and energy crops including giant miscanthus and switch grass are converted into hydrocarbons.
Google’s campus served as a proving grounds for this potentially revolutionary fuel. During the trial, a campus vehicle called GRide was fueled only with Cool Planet’s biofuel. It went up against a control car which ran on traditional gasoline during the same period of time. Results were quite positive: the biofuel-powered GRide successfully passed five emissions checks with no significant difference between cars, Cool Planet says. The total mileage of the test car was virtually the same as the control car, driving a total of 2,490 stop-and-go miles compared with the control car’s 2,514 miles.
“Innovations in alternative fuels will be key in addressing growing climate change concerns,” said Brendon Harrington, Transportation Operations Manager at Google, Inc. “We are thrilled to be a part of Cool Planet’s field testing and believe that this product has the potential to make a significant impact on our future energy needs.”
Activated carbon, or biochar, which is a byproduct of biofuel production, can be then used as a soil enhancer increasing land fertility while isolating the carbon captured from the atmosphere. Cool Planet claims this comprehensive carbon negative process results in up to a 150 percent carbon footprint reduction, far more than any other biomass-to-fuel method.
The company says it expects to produce high-octane gas at $1.50 per gallon without government subsidies.
Image via Cool Planet Energy Systems on Facebook