BP announced today that it is renewing its commitment to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Energy Initiative (MITEI) through an agreement to provide another $25 million for continued energy research over the next five years —bringing the company’s total program funding to $50 million.
"As the largest energy investor in the US over the past five years, BP is pleased to extend its on-going commitment to academic research in this country through our continued collaboration with MIT,” said Lamar McKay, Chairman and President of BP America, Inc. “Addressing the nation’s energy challenges requires long-term partnerships between the private sector and leading scientific institutions. We believe the MITEI program we helped found is an example of the critical linkage between energy and technology.”
Launched in 2006 with BP as the inaugural founding member, the MITEI conducts multidisciplinary research aimed at tackling complex energy challenges like increasing energy supply, improving efficiency, and addressing environmental impacts of energy consumption. To date, the initiative has sponsored hundreds of energy-related projects ranging from unconventional sources of hydrocarbons to renewables and nuclear fusion.
“The MITEI has become a model for large-scale multidisciplinary research in partnership with industry,” said MIT President L. Rafael Reif. “BP’s early engagement and support were essential and we are very happy that this renewed commitment signals success in meeting key objectives of both BP and MIT.”
The MITEI program pairs world-class research teams with the energy companies responsible for commercializing the technology. The program’s structure enables industrial partners to jointly support innovative energy-related academic research while simultaneously advancing research directed at specific business challenges.
“BP is a valued partner in defining and addressing fundamental energy challenges,” according to Professor Ernest J. Moniz, MITEI Director. “It provides invaluable industry perspectives and has done much to shape the overall mission of the MIT Energy Initiative. We are thrilled that BP has decided to extend its membership.”
Within the program, BP scientists and engineers and MIT researchers collaborate across a range of fields including energy conversion, energy sustainability, materials science, and the modelling of global energy production and use.
“MIT faculty and students have proved to be invaluable research partners who embody the Institute’s motto ‘Mens et Manus’ or ‘Mind and Hand’,” said Ellen Williams, BP’s Chief Scientist. “They bring a powerful combination of scientific innovation and rigor along with an awareness of the practical considerations of large-scale energy provision. Over the last five years, MITEI research has provided BP with a range of practical solutions and trusted scientific data, from state-of-the-art process optimisation and modelling tools to ground-breaking analysis of water use in energy production.“
BP funds about $100 million in university research, education and recruitment activity at more than 50 US universities annually.
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BP has invested more in the United States over the last five years than any other oil and gas company. With more than $52 billion in capital spending between 2007 and 2011, BP invests more in the US than in any other country. The company is the second largest producer of oil and gas in the US, a major oil refiner and a leader in alternative energy sources including wind power and biofuels. BP provides enough energy each year to light the entire country. With 23,000 US employees, BP supports nearly a quarter of a million domestic jobs through its business activities. For more information, visit www.bp.com.
MITEI was built according to a template laid out in the 2006 Report of the Energy Research Council commissioned by former MIT President, Susan Hockfield. The report called for new approaches to multidisciplinary research, education across school and department boundaries, a more energy efficient campus reached in part through student-led projects, and outreach to the policy world through technically grounded analysis. It also emphasized the importance of another MIT strength – partnering with industry as a prime locus for the clean energy transformation needed to address economic, environmental, and security concerns associated with the current energy system. The MITEI program includes research, education, campus energy management and outreach programs that cover all areas of energy supply and demand, security, and environmental impact.