Founder: Mike Cheiky
CEO: Howard Janzen
Date launched: 2009
Funding: $150 million
Industry Disrupted: Oil & Gas
Disrupting: BP, Chesapeake Energy, ExxonMobil
Competition: Bio Fuelbox, Great Point Energy, Joule Unlimited
Plenty of companies have claimed to be able to turn organic materials into fuel sources, but Cool Planet may be the first to really make good on that promise. The Denver, Colorado-based company has developed a technology, along with low-cost manufacturing facilities, to create green fuels based on plant photosynthesis that are chemically identical to fossil fuels. It does this by making gasoline from organic materials such as grass, trees or corn cobs.
The company claims their energy sources can be blended into the current fuel supply to reduce greenhouse gases from the air without sacrificing performance or increasing prices at the pump. What's more, the co-product that results from the production of Cool Planet's green fuel—biochar—can have huge benefit to the global agricultural industry. That's because it can be mixed with soil to improve harvests while reducing the amount of water and fertilizer needed.
FULL LIST: 2014 CNBC DISRUPTOR 50
This alternative energy start-up has caught the attention—and money—of some of the world's biggest energy companies, including BP, Exelon and ConocoPhillips. They're early investors as well as anticipated customers: Cool Planet has pre-sold fuel to the oil majors to blend with their existing fossil fuel in order to lessen their carbon footprint. In February the company broke ground on its Alexandria, Louisiana, plant, which will have an annual capacity of 10 million gallons.
How did you come up with your big idea?
"We set out to reverse, not reduce, climate change."