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Cool Planet Energy Systems Breaks Ground On Biorefinery in Alexandria

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Biofuel company Cool Planet Energy Systems recently held a symbolic groundbreaking on a biorefinery in Alexandria, La.

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Dubbed "Project Genesis," the facility will be constructed on a 28-acre site on the Red River Waterway in central Louisiana. It is the first of three biorefineries that Cool Planet will build with a $168 million capital investment in the state to commercialize the company's renewable gasoline blendstocks.

Cool Planet Energy Systems Vice President of Business Development Mike Rocke says the refinery will be designed to produce 10 million gallons per year of high-octane, renewable gasoline blends. The facility will also be constructed to produce biochar, a charcoal that allows the soil to boost yields on reduced use of fertilizer and water. Rocke says the construction and design of the facility is similar to an oil refinery, only on a smaller scale.

“There will be a lot of piping and things that move the biomass along with flats and tanks to hold the fuel. It has a modular design so it will be constructed in [pieces],” says Rocke.

Cool Planet has reviewed bids from construction companies with refinery-building experience and will soon name the general contractor.

“We're also waiting on some additional permits but we should start moving ground shortly,” says Rocke.

Cool Planet's business strategy is to build smaller facilities closer to the biomass feedstock which will allow them to expand rapidly, achiever lower scale-up risk and improve with each facility. The company will break ground on another facility in Natchitoches in 2015 and a third one in 2016 in a yet to be named location.

According to Cool Planet, the projects will create approximately 750 construction jobs. The Alexandria facility is expected to be operational by the end of 2015.

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