Biofuels operations & technologies

Since 2005, BP has invested approximately $8.3 billion in sectors of the alternative energy industry where we can profitably grow our business. Our investments in wind and biofuels, businesses that are material, scalable, are well-suited to BP's core capabilities. We are also investing in new energy technologies that will ensure BP remains on the leading edge of safe, responsible energy production from all sources.

Our low carbon strategy is simple: we invest in projects that can achieve tangible reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, make a positive difference to energy security and offer commercial opportunities. Our biofuel projects are a major contributor to BP's overall Alternative Energy portfolio. 

Investing in production

Biofuels are an integral part of BP's energy portfolio. We’ve already made significant investments to become a global producer of ethanol – with real projects underway right now.

In 2011 BP purchased the remaining shares in Brazilian biofuel company Tropical BioEnergia SA, taking BP’s total share to 100%. In the same year, BP expanded its investments significantly with the full acquisition of the Brazilian sugar and ethanol producer Companhia Nacional de Açúcar e Álcool (CNAA). BP is now an owner operator of three ethanol mills located in Goiás and Minas Gerais staes in Brazil.

Together with DuPont and AB Sugar, we have built a commercial-scale ethanol plant in the UK on an existing BP site at Hull. The plant, operating under the name Vivergo Fuels, has a production capacity to produce 420 million litres of ethanol and 500,000 tonnes of animal feed annually. The facility has the potential to be retroffitted to produce the advanced biofuel biobutanol in future. 

Innovating to make biofuels even better

The BP Biofuels Global Technology Centre is a world-class research facility in San Diego, California, where leading scientists and technologists are generating innovations in the biofuels industry. We’re investing $500 million over 10 years in the US in the Energy Biosciences Institute. Our partners in the project are the University of California Berkeley, the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

In the UK, we’re working with DuPont to develop and market the advanced biofuel, biobutanol – with a new technology demonstration facility capable of producing 20,000 litres annually currently under construction.

In October 2012, BP and DSM announced a joint development agreement to advance the development of a step-change technology for conversion of sugars into renewable diesel. This agreement extends a relationship that began in 2009 between BP and Martek Biosciences Corporation.

This technology offers an alternative to the current biodiesel and Renewable Diesel options, which are reliant on vegetable oils. We have now demonstrated the concept of this technology at pilot scale and we believe sugar-to-diesel technology has the potential to deliver economic, sustainable and scalable Renewable Diesel supplies.