Port improvements underway at site of future Cool Planet facility

By Erin Voegele | February 20, 2015

Site work is progressing at the site of Cool Plant Energy Systems’ proposed biorefinery at the Port of Alexandria in Louisiana. The project was awarded a $91 million loan guarantee from the USDA in late 2014. Company spokesman Wesley Bolsen explains the project is also benefiting from approximately $15 million in funding from the state to improve the port site itself. 

According to Bolsen, $6.4 million in site improvement work kicked off this year, including work related to fire protection, roads, administration buildings, utilities, truck scales, and fencing. Construction of the biorefinery is expected to kick off later this year, with production commencing in 2016.

Once complete, the facility will have the capacity to produce between 8 MMgy and 10 MMgy of reformate, a drop-in ingredient in gasoline and jet fuel that can be added during the regular refinery process. The USDA has previously noted that reformate enhances the energy content of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel. Pine chips will be the feedstock source for the plant. The company, however, can use almost any type of cellulosic material.

In addition to biobased fuels, the plant will also produce Cool Planet’s proprietary biocarbon product, trademarked as Cool Terra. In trials related to high-value agricultural production, the product has been shown to significantly increase yields, while significantly decreasing water and fertilizer requirements.

While Cool Planet is primarily known for its presence in the biofuels industry, Bolsen stressed the company also has a significant presence in the agricultural tech industry due to its work with Cool Terra. The company is also active in the biobased chemical sector. Bolsen notes that Cool Terra is being produced and sold by Cool Plant today. He also indicated the product is more than a coproduct. Given the increase in yields, were actually getting more for the biocarbon than we are for fuel, he said.