Cool Planet Adds $50 Million in Equity to Build Biofuel Facility

Cool Planet Energy Systems Inc., a closely held U.S. biofuel developer, raised $50 million in equity financing to help complete its first production plant and expand research.

The $100 million Series D funding round also included an additional $50 million in debt that was raised earlier and has now been converted into equity, Chief Financial Officer Barry Rowan said in an interview today. Cool Planet has raised a total of $150 million, and there are no remaining convertible bonds.

Cool Planet broke ground in February on its Alexandria, Louisiana, plant, which will have annual production capacity of 10 million gallons (38 million liters), the Greenwood Village, Colorado-based company said today in a statement.

“This is a very difficult environment to be raising capital for clean technology,” Rowan said in a telephone interview. “I think it’s a tribute to the strength of the business model and support of the marquee strategic investor base.”

About half of the new equity is from non-U.S. investors, joining existing backers that include Google Inc., General Electric Co., BP Plc, ConocoPhillips, NRG Energy Inc. and Exelon Corp. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and UBS AG jointly led the private placement.

North Bridge Venture Partners LP and Concord Energy Inc. were the round’s lead investors. International backers have expressed interest in joint ventures or licensing the company’s technology, including an agreement in October with Acritaz Greentech in Malaysia.

Cool Planet uses a chemical-mechanical process to convert non-food biomass into fuel. The Louisiana plant is expected to reach full capacity in 2015 and the company plans to build more facilities the following year, Rowan said. “The business plan calls for building hundreds of plants over time in the U.S. and internationally.”

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