Booster makes renewable fuels accessible in ways a gas station can’t

Booster delivers fuel directly to fleet vehicles.

Courtesy of Booster Fuels Inc.

Fuel delivery start-up Booster has made a name for itself filling up commuters’ cars while they’re parked at the office. But after the Covid pandemic shifted so many people to remote work, Booster CEO Frank Mycroft said, the company ramped up its commercial vehicle fleet refueling activities so drivers are prepared. starting as soon as they start a shift.

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

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

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

Charging electric vehicles should become big business for Booster over time, Mycroft says, but today many companies cannot afford to convert their fleets to battery-electric models, or the battery-electric vehicles that ‘they want to buy are not even available.

The Tesla Heavy Duty Semi, for example, has been repeatedly delayed with mass production slated to begin in 2023. And Rivian recently warned investors that it may not be able to deliver the thousands of electric minivans like promised to Amazon due to a legal agreement. battle with a supplier.

For now, Booster is convincing customers with traditional diesel trucks to try renewable diesel or biodiesel made from used cooking oil or other plant-based blends. Alternative fuels like these generate tailpipe emissions, Mycroft acknowledges, but overall they have about a third of the carbon footprint of traditional fossil fuels.

Since renewables and biodiesel can’t be delivered on the same lines that go to gas stations, Booster is key to distribution, says Steve Geskos, managing director of Rose Park Advisors, one of the reasons for which energy companies want to partner with the start-up. .

With fuel prices skyrocketing this year following Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, biodiesel, renewable diesel and other “alternative” fuels are proving competitive in terms of of price, Mycroft said. The national average for regular unleaded gasoline hit a record high of $4.60 a gallon, according to AAA on Wednesday.

Although Mycroft is self-aware and does not present his company as a pure climate solution, the CEO says he seeks every opportunity to reduce the negative impacts of transport on the environment and to help communities become resilient to the climate.

For example, during widespread blackouts in Texas last February, Booster delivered fuel to run fire trucks and generators as long as the grid was down. In preparation for wildfire season in California, Booster is now training drivers in its home state on how to quickly refuel fire trucks used by Cal Fire.

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

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recommends “a substantial reduction in the use of fossil fuels, widespread electrification, improved energy efficiency and the use of alternative fuels” to limit global warming human-caused climate, which increases the severity and frequency of extreme weather events. events.

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