A key report on the risks of climate change released recently by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The report unquestionably focuses on the growing threat of climate change on food supplies, access to clean water, and overall human security. The issues represented in the the report are really geographically and social class agnostic so complacency is something that needs to change and change quickly if civilization is expected to overcome droughts, typhoons, low food supplies and increased diseases.
The idea that something needs to change has me again looking at Cool Planet Energy Systems and the need to focus on becoming carbon negative, not carbon neutral.
You may know biochar, the solid material resulting from the carbonization of non-food biomass such as wood chips, algae and corn cobs, has been used for agricultural purposes for thousands of years. It can be a very good soil enhancer for more noticeable plant growth since it is highly porous and can help retain nutrients and water. This means it can boost crop yields while using 30% less water. So while Cool Planet can create biochar through is "CoolTerra" product, which benefits the agriculture sector by creating more fertile soil, it also stores CO2 for hundreds of years. The company is also simultaneously converting biomass into cost-effective hydrocarbon fuel for commercial consumption through what is called a "biomass fractionator," a technological breakthrough Cool Planet has two U.S. patents on. The creation of both biochar and gasoline essentially brings the carbon-negative fuel cycle into a complete circle.
Despite a tough economic landscape for clean tech funding, Cool Planet just announced a $100 million D round capital raise, which will help the company build its first production facility to be located in Louisiana with an expected production of 10 millions gallons of high-octane renewable fuel, blendstock, and CoolTerra biochar products. The company's financing included all previous investors such as BP (NYSE:BP); Google Ventures, the investing arm of Google (NASDAQ:GOOG); the Constellation division of Exelon (NYSE:EXC); and Energy Technology Ventures, a consortium of GE, ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) and NRG Energy (NYSE:NRG).
Another rather intriguing aspect of Cool Planet's funding announcement was the validation of large global scaling implications for the company's technology, considering the investment also represents over 50% new money from China, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. This means the carbon negative story is one much of the world is now following and that's really positive for carbon-negative technology and Cool Planet.