Through its venturing arm, BP helps create and support new low-carbon businesses and promising technologies.
Since 2006, BP Ventures has invested more than $300 million in dozens of U.S. companies, including eight alternative energy companies. Its investments focus on bio- and low-carbon products, carbon management, power and storage, advanced mobility, and digital transformation.
“BP intends to play our part in meeting the dual challenge of delivering the energy the world needs while transitioning to a lower-carbon future,” says Meghan Sharp, managing director of the Americas region for BP Ventures. “BP Ventures supports this lower-carbon ambition by identifying emerging trends and businesses, making strategic investments, and testing technologies and solutions for their scalability.”
For example, BP has invested $40 million in Fulcrum BioEnergy, a California-based company that produces low-carbon “biojet” fuel from household waste. When BP announced this investment in 2016, it also secured a 10-year deal with Fulcrum to supply 50 million gallons of biojet fuel per year to its aviation business, Air BP.
In 2018, Fulcrum began building a new plant in Nevada that will be America’s first commercial-scale operation diverting household garbage from landfills into a low-carbon, renewable transportation fuel product.
BP also has invested $20 million in Beyond Limits, a Caltech startup that is commercializing artificial intelligence and cognitive computing software. Its technology uses machine learning and human knowledge to simulate human reasoning, applying the same exploration techniques that NASA’s Curiosity Rover used on the surface of Mars. BP’s support will help accelerate the delivery of this technology, providing the energy sector with new levels of process automation and better insight and effectiveness across all operations.
Meanwhile, BP’s investment in Solidia, a cement and concrete company based in New Jersey, supports a technology that can produce cement with significantly fewer greenhouse gas emissions, using carbon dioxide instead of water to cure the concrete. This technology has the potential to reduce emissions in concrete production by up to 70 percent, and it allows 80 percent of the water used in the production process to be recycled.
As part of its focus on advanced mobility, BP has invested in Peloton, a California-based vehicle technology company dedicated to improving the safety and efficiency of freight transportation. Peloton’s technology enables two or more trucks to travel closely but safely together. This reduces aerodynamic drag, generating savings in fuel use and CO2 emissions.
In 2018, BP announced a $5 million investment in FreeWire, a California-based manufacturer of mobile electric vehicle rapid-charging systems.
It also announced a $500,000 investment in several members of Incubatenergy, a U.S.-based consortium of clean energy incubators and accelerators.
Globally, BP plans to invest around $200 million each year to help incubate and grow lower-carbon solutions. It will allocate at least $500 million a year for low-carbon activities in general, including its renewable energy businesses and acquisitions.
At least one U.S. company — Solidia — has received investment both from BP and from the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI) fund.
BP was a founding member of OGCI, which includes 10 companies that produce more than 25 percent of the world’s oil and gas. Collectively, these companies have pledged to invest $1 billion in low-carbon technologies over 10 years.
Thus far, the two primary focus areas for OGCI Climate Investments have been reducing methane emissions and developing carbon capture, use and storage technology.