Governor launches biobutanol facility

By Luke Geiver | January 04, 2010
Posted Jan. 12, 2010

Cobalt Biofuels launched its first low carbon fuel plant in Mountain View, Calif. with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in attendance. The facility will act as a testing site for the company's biobutanol technology. "Cobalt is leading the race to bring economic next generation biofuels to market," said Rick Wilson, Cobalt Biofuels CEO. "Based on the technology breakthroughs we have achieved, and the successful operation of our plant, we are on track to build a commercial facility within two years," Wilson added.

Using non-food feedstock, such as forest waste and mill residues, Cobalt's biobutanol technologies reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 85 percent compared to gasoline. The company's form of biobutanol (n-butanol) can be used as a standalone fuel; blended with gasoline, diesel and ethanol; converted into jet fuel or plastics, or sold as is for use in paints and coatings.

Earlier in the week the California governor commented on the role of clean technology in his State of the State address. "since we want California to be the dynamo of green technology, I ask you to pass our proposal exempting the purchase of green tech manufacturing equipment from the sales tax," and later in the speech, "To maintain our competitive edge, the governor will continue to support a sales tax exemption on the purchase of manufacturing equipment for advanced transportation, renewable energy and other clean technology projects."

With Schwarzenegger on hand for the launch of the green tech testing facility, Wilson said, "The governor's leadership in clean technology policy, like the proposed sales tax exemption from green manufacturing equipment will help accelerate commercialization and make California an attractive place to site a plant."

According to a market study commissioned by Cobalt, one commercial-scale plant will employ 1,300 permanent green collar jobs at the plant and surrounding area, and adds more than $250 million annually to the state's gross domestic product.