A significant strand of the company’s strategy is developing next generation cellulosic biofuel technologies and licensing them for commercial use globally.
BP’s biofuels activities include the development of proprietary biomass-to-ethanol conversion technology, a leading edge research and development (R&D) capability and a biofuels demonstration facility necessary to advance the company’s cellulosic biofuels strategy.
The BP Biofuels Global Technology Center is a world-class research facility, where leading scientists and technologists are generating innovations in the biofuels industry. Their expertise in the areas of enzymology, synthetic biology, fermentation, characterization and bioprocess engineering allows BP to deliver an economically viable process for cellulosic ethanol production. Their skills and track-record in process innovation and ultra-high through-put experimentation complement BP’s traditional capabilities in engineering, project management and technology deployment.
Recognising the importance of bioscience, not only to BP‘s biofuels business but also the company as a whole, BP appointed a Group Chief Bioscientist in 2010 and has invested $500 million over ten years in the Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI). The EBI and San Diego laboratories are truly complementary, the EBI conducting early stage R&D on a wide range of long-term targets, while San Diego focuses on industrial R&D, inventing, developing and commercializing specific biofuels microorganisms and manufacturing processes.
By developing robust technology, BP will have the capability to deploy the cellulosic technology package at commercial facilities for use in biofuel production globally. BP’s demonstration facility in Jennings, Louisiana, supports this objective. The facility includes integrated enzyme manufacturing, fermentation facilities and associated laboratory facilities.