Google, a company that has been carbon neutral since 2007, is about to top $1 billion in renewable energy investments.
The company is a huge energy consumer; its data centers’ operations use as much energy as nearly a quarter of a million households. But Google is using renewable energy not only to fuel its own operations but also to diversify its image as a “forward-thinking, socially and environmentally responsible company” (according to Oilprice.com at least).
Over the last several years, Google has invested in various renewable energy technologies including $280 million to a SolarCity fund and hundreds of millions of wind farms around the country.
In fact, last week the company announced it was investing $75 million in a Iowa wind farm. This now brings Google’s total renewable energy investments to $990 million–nearly a billion dollars.
Aside from solar and wind energy, Google is also working on a new exciting biofuel experiment with Cool Planet Energy Systems. The thermal process experimented with attempts to turn non-food biomass (wood chips, agricultural waste, energy crops) to produce high-octane gasoline.
Byproducts from the process are then used to enrich soil, and the final product would have a 150 percent smaller carbon footprint than traditional gasoline.
Google isn’t the only one interested this type of biofuel: General Electric, BP, ConocoPhillips, NRG, and Exelon are also financial backers of Cool Planet Energy Systems.