Google backs biomass fuel firm CoolPlanetBiofuels

SAN FRANCISCO Fri Mar 18, 2011 10:02am EDT

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SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The venture capital arm of Google Inc has invested in a start-up that is developing technology to produce fuel from inedible biomass such as grass and wood chips.

The process, deployed by CoolPlanetBiofuels, also produces a byproduct that can capture carbon and also be added to soil to improve crop yields, leading to what Google Ventures described as a "negative carbon fuel."

"While we have made significant progress over the past couple of years, this new infusion of capital, coupled with the expertise of the Google Ventures team, enables our team to scale even faster," Mike Cheiky, chief executive of Camarillo, California-based CoolPlanet, said in a statement on Thursday.

Google's undisclosed amount of Series B funding follows a $42 million investment last month by Google and Silicon Valley venture capitalist Vinod Khosla in a weather insurance start-up.

Also last month, Google Ventures invested in power-saving energy conversion technology firm Transphorm.

(Reporting by Braden Reddall; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

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