GE backs Camarillo’s grass-to-gas firm
A Camarillo startup developing a system to turn grass into gasoline with a negative carbon footprint has brought its fundraising total to $11.5 million with a Nov. 17 capital infusion from GE Energy Financial Services.
CoolPlanetBioFuels is developing what it calls a biomass fractionator — a machine that will use heat, pressure and mechanical force to turn grass, trees or other plant sources into fuels such as gasoline. The process bears more similarities to crude oil refining than the fermentation that produces ethanol in most of today’s biofuel plants.
CoolPlanet has leased 50,000 square feet of production space near its headquarters off Pleasant Valley Road to start building prototypes.
“This is going to help us build our first million-gallon-a-year biomass-to-gasoline plant,” said Mike Rocke, vice president of business development at CoolPlanet. “We’re going to be expanding and adding between 50 and 75 new jobs next year.”