Cool Planet Energy Systems has lined up some big-name investors (Google Ventures, BP, ConocoPhillips, NRG) and made some bold claims about its ability to produce cheap biofuels that can be a direct gasoline replacement. Now the company needs to raise money to build its first commercial processing plant to prove it can deliver on that promise.

The California company, founded in 2009, announced Wednesday that it’s projecting a biofuel production cost of $1.50 per gallon at a plant that can produce 10 million gallons per year. Cool Planet is looking to raise around $100 million for that first 10 million-gallon facility and for production and other corporate expenses. That first plant would have a capital cost of $50 million, said Howard Janzen, CEO of Cool Planet. At those estimates the biofuel could be produced for less than the price of crude oil.

The company hopes to complete the project and start delivering fuel in the first half of 2014. Janzen said some of the company’s investors will be the ones in line to get the first shipments from that plant, though he declined to disclose their names. The plant is planned for the U.S., but the location hasn’t been settled, said Janzen.

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