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Biofuel-Powered Car One Step Closer to Reality

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.

Cool Planet Biofuels

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.

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Image via Cool Planet Energy Systems on Facebook

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66 comments

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7:00AM PDT on Sep 26, 2013

wished we'd get moving on this

8:03AM PST on Dec 4, 2012

Not the way to go. sorry Monsanto and big oil.

6:08AM PST on Dec 2, 2012

Thank you.

4:44AM PST on Nov 27, 2012

Look at Global Thermostat. They seem to claim to capture and store carbon for somewhat less that the spot price of coal.

9:13PM PST on Nov 26, 2012

Thanks for the update, I think it's more steps in a better direction.

9:51PM PST on Nov 15, 2012

It's still a blend with fossil fuel, and the biofuel production will require land. Better to go car-free if you can.

12:33PM PST on Nov 15, 2012

thank you!!

9:12AM PST on Nov 15, 2012

Thanks for sharing.

10:48PM PST on Nov 14, 2012

good article

9:58PM PST on Nov 14, 2012

thanks

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