Cobalt Biofuels has developed innovative technology for the production of biobutanol from woody biomass as a drop-in replacement for petroleum-based gasoline and chemicals. Biobutanol is a high quality liquid fuel, with many advantages over ethanol and other potential fuels. Butanol can be mixed, stored and transported together with gasoline. It has more energy per gallon than ethanol, which translates into better mileage for consumers using butanol blends, and has lower vapor pressure than ethanol, which translates into less ground level pollution. The low vapor pressure of butanol also makes it an attractive blend component for refiners, who must comply with stringent gasoline vapor pressure specifications.
In addition, butanol made from petroleum is a widely used industrial chemical, for which biobutanol would be a lower cost “green” substitute. Cobalt uses proprietary Clostridia bacteria to ferment both C5 and C6 sugars from multiple lignocellulosic feedstocks to biobutanol and other products. Cobalt’s approach will provide capital costs below those of other cellulosic technologies due to use of standard materials, higher productivity, and greater fuel concentration. The system is engineered to achieve lowest cost of operations through energy efficiency, low water use, and low cost feedstock. Cobalt's technology is on track to bring capital investment for cellulosic bio-butanol below that of corn ethanol by 2012. Operating costs are already well below those of corn or sugar-cane ethanol.
Cobalt is a privately-funded company based in Mountain View, California. Cobalt's investors include leading venture capital firms, such as Vantage Point Venture Partners, Pinnacle Ventures, @Ventures and Harris and Harris, as well as leading life sciences investors, such as Burrill & Co., Life Sciences Partners and the Malaysian Life Sciences Capital Fund.