Booster is making renewable fuels accessible in ways a gas station cannot

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  • Fuel delivery start-up Booster is refueling commercial vehicle fleets before starting drivers’ shifts.
  • The company has raised about $125 million in a new round of venture funding led by Rose Park Advisors, with companies including Mitsubishi Corp. and Renewable Energy Group.
  • CEO Frank Mycroft says companies with conventional diesel vehicles are using boosters to switch to cleaner renewable diesel, or to spent cooking oil or biodiesel made from plants.

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Fuel delivery start-up Booster made its name for filling passengers’ cars while they were parked in the office.
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But after the Covid pandemic caused many people to shift to remote work, Booster CEO Frank Mycroft says the company ramped up its business to refuel its fleet of commercial vehicles, so that drivers were ready to go at that moment. when they start a shift.

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To grow that business and provide customers with more renewable energy options, Booster has raised approximately $125 million in a new venture funding round led by Rose Park Advisors along with energy and venture firms including Mitsubishi Corp., Renewable Energy Group, Maveron and Madrona Venture Group.

Madrona’s managing director Matt McIlvain told CNBC he expects Booster to expand geographically with that capital. “The committed partnerships and contracts they already have will take them to an incredible scale,” the investor said. He also believes that a public offering for Booster could be possible in the next two to three years if the company executes as expected.

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Mycroft says that some of the funding will also go to research and development. Booster is working on ways to recharge fully electric vehicles, including buses and delivery vans, wherever they are parked – even in dirt far from any charging infrastructure.

Mycroft says that electric vehicle charging for boosters should grow into big business over time, but many companies today can’t afford to convert their fleets to battery-electric models, or those looking to buy battery-electric vehicles. Yes, they are also not available.

The Tesla heavy-duty Semi, for example, has been delayed several times, with series production expected to begin in 2023. And Rivian recently warned investors that Amazon might not be able to deliver the thousands of electric vans it promised for legal reasons. Fight with supplier.

For now, Booster is convincing customers with conventional, diesel-burning trucks to try renewable diesel, or biodiesel, made from spent cooking oil or other plant-based blends. Such alternative fuels generate tailpipe emissions, Mycroft acknowledges, but overall they account for about a third of the carbon footprint of conventional fossil fuels.

Since renewables and biodiesel can’t be piped through lines leading to gas stations, booster distribution is key, says Steve Gaskos, managing director of Rose Park Advisors, one of the reasons energy companies want to partner with start-ups. are interested.

As fuel prices have soared following Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine this year, biodiesel, renewable diesel and other “drop-in” fuels are proving price competitive, Mycroft says. As of Wednesday, the national average for regular, unleaded gas is a record $4.60 per gallon, according to AAA.

While Mycroft is self-aware and doesn’t bill its company as a pure climate solution, the CEO says it looks forward to every opportunity to reduce the negative impacts of transportation on the environment and help communities become climate resilient. searches.

For example, during the widespread blackout in Texas last February, boosters provided fuel to keep fire trucks running, and generators running as long as the grid was down. In preparation for California’s wildfire season, Booster is now training drivers in its home state on how to quickly fuel fire trucks used by Cal Fire.

“Emergency response is, unfortunately, another growing part of our business,” Mycroft said.

United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recommended “Substantial reduction in fossil fuel use, widespread electrification, improved energy efficiency and the use of alternative fuels,” to limit human-caused global warming, which increases the severity and frequency of extreme weather events.

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