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Making changes now

Release date:
19 May 2020
This Thursday marks 100 days since bp announced its ambition to get to net zero by 2050 or sooner and to help the world get there too. Since then, the COVID-19 pandemic has seized the world’s attention and forced us all to take drastic measures to protect ourselves, but that has not distracted us from our ambition. We remain just as committed today as we were when we announced it. Playing a key role in supporting this is the Advancing Low Carbon programme. Find out more

More bp people than ever before are showcasing the work they are doing to innovate, create, partner and invest in ways that could help achieve our net zero ambition.


Now in its third year, bp’s Advancing Low Carbon (ALC) programme features 76 accredited activities (up by 24 from last year) outlining the breadth of work under way, all helping in some way to cut, remove or offset carbon. 

 

 

“We are shining a light on the bp teams who are thinking differently and working collectively, all in support of the energy transition.” 

 

Katie Wallace, ALC programme director

 

 

The teams’ work covers a catalogue of different initiatives delivering emissions reductions, renewable energy, improving energy efficiency, decarbonizing transport, and developing carbon removal technologies.


The programme was initially set up to inspire teams across bp to pursue low carbon activities and receive accreditation from bp for their activities. To be accredited, activities must meet certain criteria and the programme is externally assured by Deloitte.


But now, as bp works towards its net zero ambition, the programme is one way of indicating the projects, big and small, that are delivering a better carbon outcome. 


bp magazine looks at the 2020 ALC headlines and talks to some of the people whose teams and projects made this year’s long list. 

Advancing low carbon illustration

Improving the energy efficiency of our data centres

The carbon footprint of the internet, and the vast data centres that support it are something that our own IT and procurement teams are taking action to address – working to shift bp’s computing workloads onto the cloud.

 

“That process alone has halved the amount of power our centres use,” says Andrew Mercer, IT director. The remaining 50% is now powered by renewable energy.


And the team didn’t stop there – bp recently announced the first in a series of innovative power deals with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to supply renewable energy to the European data centres that drive the AWS cloud platform. The deal is in line with bp’s growing sustainable power business, which includes tailored power purchase agreements (PPAs) within the corporate sector. 

The team is also on track to meet its aim to become carbon neutral by the end of the year. “We’re 50% of the way towards our goal,” says Mercer. “I’m proud to be part of the ALC programme, especially if anything we’ve done can spark ideas in others.”
“Our SAF gives the same performance as traditional jet fuel but with significantly reduced lifecycle emissions.”

 

Tom Parsons, commercial development manager for low carbon

Cutting carbon from air travel 

With aviation thought to be the last mode of transport to electrify, hopes, for the short-term at least, rest on sustainable aviation fuels (SAF). 


Air bp’s SAF is made from cooking oil and, in the future, household waste. SAF cuts carbon emissions by up to 80% over its lifecycle compared to conventional jet fuel.


It was first delivered at Oslo airport back in 2015 and Air bp has now supplied SAF at 16 locations across three continents. 


“There’s a big opportunity here,” says Tom Parsons, commercial development manager for low carbon. “The aviation industry has tough carbon targets, but it’s also one of the most challenging industries to decarbonize because of the energy density needed to lift the aircraft. Our SAF gives the same performance as traditional jet fuel but with significantly reduced lifecycle emissions.”

Cutting carbon from essential chemical production

bp’s proprietary technology for making acetic anhydride – a chemical found in powder detergents, pharmaceuticals, starch production and  more – uses less energy than most traditional technologies.

 

“ALC’s external assurance from Deloitte creates confidence,” says Akira Kirton, commercial director, European acetyls.

 

“We have customers who, two years ago, had no idea that our acetic anhydride technology had a lower carbon footprint, so it’s helped us to get our story out there.” 

Building better buildings 

Meanwhile, Tricoya Technologies, also back in this year’s ALC programme, treat their wood products with that acetic anhydride to improve their durability and longevity.

 

This could, in turn, help the building industry to reduce its footprint by displacing other, more carbon-intensive, materials, such as concrete, and extending the life of those wood products to 50 years plus.

 

bp is now working with its partners to build the world’s first commercial-scale Tricoya production facility next door to its petrochemicals plant in Hull, UK, which will supply the acetic anhydride.  

Smarter solvents

One of 16 bp Ventures companies to feature in this year’s programme, C-Capture has developed proprietary solvents that are less corrosive and – crucially – require significantly less energy than traditional chemicals called amines to remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from large-scale industrial processes.


Spun out of Leeds University, the start-up is now conducting a first-of-its-kind demonstration project at the biomass-powered Drax power station in Yorkshire, UK, and hopes to reach full-scale deployment by the mid-2020s.


“We believe our product is better than anything out on the market,” says C-Capture chief executive Tom White, “but we need to demonstrate it at scale and fast. bp understands our technology and that sense of urgency. That makes it an exciting time for us.” 

“We believe our product is better than anything out on the market, but we need to demonstrate it at scale and fast. bp understands our technology and that sense of urgency.” 

 

Tom White, C-Capture chief executive

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