USDA Announces Cool Planet and the Bioenergy Alliance Network of the Rockies Receive $10 Million to Develop Sustainable Biofuels

  USDA Announces Cool Planet and the Bioenergy Alliance Network of the Rockies
  Receive $10 Million to Develop Sustainable Biofuels from Beetle-Killed Wood

Business Wire

DENVER -- November 6, 2013

Cool Planet Energy Systems, a developer of small scale bio-refineries for the
conversion of non-food biomass into biofuels and soil enhancing biochar, as a
member of the Bioenergy Alliance Network of the Rockies (BANR), was awarded a
grant by the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food
and Agriculture (NIFA) to develop the scientific underpinnings for using
beetle-killed wood as a sustainable feedstock for distributed bio-refineries.

Beetle-killed forest example (Photo: Business Wire)

Beetle-killed forest example (Photo: Business Wire)

“Infestations of pine and spruce bark beetles have impacted over 42 million
acres of U.S. forests since 1996, and a changing climate threatens to expand
the threat from bark beetle on our forest lands,” said Agriculture Secretary
Tom Vilsack. “As we take steps to fight the bark beetle, this innovative
research will help take the biomass that results from bark beetle infestation
and create clean, renewable energy that holds potential for job creation and
promises a cleaner future for America. This is yet another reminder of the
critical investments provided by the Farm Bill for agricultural research, and
I urge Congress to achieve passage of a new, long term Food, Farm and Jobs
Bill as soon as possible.”

Organizations involved with the BANR project alongside Cool Planet include
Colorado State University (CSU) as the project lead, Colorado State Forest
Service, the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory
(NREL), University of Wyoming, University of Montana, Montana State
University, University of Idaho, and the USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain
Research Station.

“I would like to thank the USDA for seeing the value that Cool Planet’s
technology can bring to turning beetle-kill wood into renewable fuels,” said
Colorado Governor Hickenlooper. “Now Cool Planet, in collaboration with the
other Colorado-based members of the Bioenergy Alliance Network of the Rockies
(Colorado State University, the Colorado State Forest Service at CSU, and
NREL) will be able to demonstrate a solution to this problem.”

Bark beetles have infested more than 42 million acres of timber with more than
half of the infestation being in Colorado, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. In
addition, wood from thinning for fire control and forest restoration in
national forests is currently costly to manage and often burned in place for
disposal. Congress did not anticipate this when passing the renewable fuels
standard, so the project will investigate the policy implications, and inform
a broad group of environmental and government stakeholders on the benefits of
approving this feedstock for use in bioenergy applications.

“The unprecedented area of beetle-impacted forests across the Rockies presents
both severe management challenges, especially with regards to fire risk, and
new opportunities for renewable bioenergy,” said USDA Forest Service Research
Forester Nate Anderson, “This project will provide new knowledge and
information to guide the sustainable and economic use of woody biomass from
restoration treatments in these forests.”

“The project will begin work by the end of 2013, with assessing beetle-kill
feedstock availability and how to harvest and process the material in an
environmentally and economically sustainable manner, while producing high
quality renewable fuels and biochar that will reduce greenhouse gas
emissions,” said Keith Paustian, BANR Project Director at Colorado State

In addition to demonstrating the affordability and efficiency of the Cool
Planet technology to make high octane, drop-in gasoline, the project will
study how biochar that is also produced in the process can enable more
productive forest and agricultural crop growth by returning nutrients and
helping retain water in the soil. Part of the analysis will include modeling
and lifecycle analysis to quantify the greenhouse gas benefits from using dead
trees to produce biofuel and biochar.

“After we complete the modeling and lifecycle assessment, the alliance will
work to educate the public and lawmakers on the socioeconomic benefits and
policy support that will be necessary to solve this large-scale problem,” said
Margaret Mann of DOE’s National Renewable Energy Lab.

Cool Planet will focus on the conversion of the biomass into biofuels and use
of biochar for biofuel sustainability, while Universities and government
agencies are evaluating topics such as feedstock availability, field-scale
environmental impacts, emissions modeling and lifecycle assessment, education,
extension and outreach. The research results will be used to help direct the
best ways to sustainably utilize the pine bark beetle killed trees and restore
the land to a better condition.

“We are very pleased that the USDA saw the strength of our proposal. The USDA
sees our project at the nexus of producing biofuels and bio-based products,
climate change, ecosystem restoration, and wildfire mitigation,” said Rick
Wilson, Cool Planet’s lead on the project.

The BANR project joins six other regional bioenergy Coordinated Agricultural
Projects (CAP) as part of a five year $156 million investment to facilitate
the development of sustainable regional production of biofuels and biobased
products from non-food dedicated feedstocks including woody biomass, perennial
grasses, energy cane, sorghum, and oilseed crops. The regional bioenergy CAP
projects are funded through the USDA NIFA Agriculture and Food Research
Initiative (AFRI) and are evaluated yearly with funding contingent upon
progress and availability of funds.

More information about the project can be found at:

About Cool Planet

Cool Planet is deploying disruptive technology through capital efficient,
small scale biorefineries, to economically convert non-food biomass into
high-octane biofuels. The process also generates value through biochar
production, which can be returned to the soil, enabling fertilizer and water
retention for increased crop productivity, and more robust plant health. The
process can be carbon negative, removing 100+ percent of the carbon footprint
for every gallon used, reversing the consequences of fossil fuels. Cool
Planet’s technology has a broad portfolio of pending and granted patents.
Global investors include BP, Google Ventures, Energy Technology Ventures (GE,
ConocoPhillips, NRG Energy), and the Constellation division of Exelon.

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Cool Planet Energy Systems
Mike Rocke, 940-584-0490