Cool Planet completes road test with plant-derived gasoline

By Chris Hanson | August 30, 2013

California-based Cool Planet Energy Systems and the Ventura County Parks Department completed a joint vehicle road test using renewable gasoline.

During the test, officials used a 5 percent blend of Cool Planet’s gasoline in one of the department’s SUVs over a six week operating period. The Ford Escape was operated for 1,700 miles and completed a smog test every 10 days. Mike Rocke, vice president of business development, said the intent was to run a low carbon fuel standard gasoline with reduced carbon content and discover any potential issues. “We didn’t believe there were any issues,” he said. He added there was no change in emissions during the smog tests and the results were in process of being sent to the California Air Resources Board, which granted special approval for the demonstration.

The fuel was produced using ground up corn cobs and externally tested with carbon-14 dating procedures. Rocke explained the carbon dating test is completed to prove the gasoline is made from renewable plant material instead of fossil fuels, which are millions of years old and contain less of the radioactive isotope.

“Our vehicle test with Cool Planet marks a critical first step in finding a clean energy solution for the County of Ventura and beyond, particularly in using one of our Park’s department vehicles,” said Dennis Scamardo, vehicle fleet manager for Ventura County. “We are excited to be working with Cool Planet on this venture and are happy to do our part to improve the environment and the community in which we live.”

Rocke said this is the second test of Cool Planet’s fuel. The biofuel was previously tested on Google’s campus vehicle which operated for more than 2,400 miles.

In addition to completing fuel tests, Cool Planet recently announced it is constructing three biorefineries in Louisiana, the first of which is scheduled to begin construction in January at the Port of Alexandria.