Cobalt Signs Fluor to Design Biobutanol Plants

Cindy Zimmerman

Cobalt Technologies has signed an agreement with engineering firm Fluor Corporation to help design production plants to commercialize biobutanol.

Under the agreement, Fluor will provide engineering consulting services and a broad range of EPCM services for Cobalt’s demonstration and commercial-scale butanol production plants.

“We are very pleased to have Fluor as our strategic partner to help us design the most efficient, lowest cost system for producing our biobutanol,” said Rick Wilson, Ph.D., chief executive officer of Cobalt Technologies. “Fluor’s experience in designing and executing large projects, particularly refining projects, is unmatched in the world. We originally asked Fluor to provide an impartial analysis of our biobutanol production technology. Now, to have them sign a strategic agreement with us, truly validates our vision.”

Cobalt’s technology converts non-food feedstock, such as forest waste and mill residues, into biobutanol. Earlier this year, the company demonstrated the conversion of beetle-killed lodgepole pine into a low-carbon, sustainable biofuel and chemical, which is currently being tested in engines by Colorado State University’s Engines and Energy Conversion Laboratory. In January, Cobalt got the endorsement of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger at the launching of a pilot plant in that state. Schwarzenegger said biobutanol will meet California’s Low Carbon Fuels Standard (LCFS), as the company says its technology reduces lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90% compared to gasoline.