This Deal Matters: Cool Planet Energy Systems Closes Series D Funding; Corporates Bet on Advanced Biofuel and Rising Activities in Asia

cool planetCool Planet Energy Systems, the Colorado-based developer of advanced drop-in fuels and biochar, announced a $50.7 million investment and the closing of the company’s $100 million Series D growth equity round. Cool Planet’s latest investors include Concord Energy Holdings, a Singapore-based crude oil trading company, which led the round with existing investor North Bridge Venture Partners. Other existing investors include BP Ventures, ConocoPhillips, Energy Technology Ventures, Exelon Capital Partners, General Electric, Google Ventures, NRG Energy, and Shea Ventures. The new investment, along with Cool Planet’s strategic corporate investors, will help to expedite the company’s 10 million gallon per year biofuel facility in Louisiana. The timing of this deal is significant in that it demonstrates corporate interests in bio-based drop-in fuels, especially given the ongoing commercialization struggle of another high-profile drop-in fuel company, KiOR, which private investor Vinod Khosla has recently committed an additional $25 million from his personal trust to continue supporting the company.

This deal also matters as it is the second deal of back-to-back investments into biofuel companies, following a $60 million growth equity round raised by LanzaTech just a week ago. Notably, we have observed increasing corporate investments into this space, as evidenced by participating companies from the oil & gas, energy and other diversified industrial sectors. More specifically, we are seeing a synergistic approach of combining core technologies from innovating companies with larger corporates’ resources and knowhow for the ultimate goal of commercializing such technologies.

Another noteworthy trend centers on the rising geographic focus in Asia, where we have seen increasing cross border collaborations among Western and Eastern companies. To illustrate, Concord Energy has not only participated as a strategic investor, the company has also established a joint venture entity with Cool Planet in 2013 with the goal of deploying its technologies to the China and Southeast Asia markets.