BP is the largest supplier of renewable natural gas (RNG) to the California transportation sector. Produced entirely from organic waste, RNG — or “biogas” — can reduce emissions by around 70 percent compared with gasoline or diesel. Additionally, BP and Clean Energy signed a 10-year margin sharing agreement whereby BP will provide RNG to Clean’s California fueling network — the largest RNG dispensing network in the state.
BP’s global partnership with Lightsource, Europe’s largest solar development company, has its U.S. headquarters in San Francisco. The company will invest $200 million in Lightsource BP over three years.
In November 2018, Lightsource BP signed a Power Purchase Agreement with the Sacramento Municipal Utilities Division (SMUD), one of the largest publicly owned utility companies in the U.S. This agreement will allow SMUD to power northern California communities with clean, renewable electricity for the next 25 years. With its expected commissioning in 2020, the site — known as Wildflower Solar I— will generate enough sustainable electricity to cover the annual needs of over 2,600 homes.
Across the Golden State, BP helps create and support new low-carbon businesses and promising technologies. One example is Fulcrum BioEnergy, which produces low-carbon “biojet” fuel from household waste. Another is Beyond Limits, a Caltech startup commercializing artificial intelligence and cognitive computing software. BP has invested $55 million in Fulcrum and $20 million in Beyond Limits.
As part of the global technology team, BP’s San Diego Biosciences Center (BSC) studies how bioscience can add value and make BP’s businesses more sustainable. Created in 2015, the staff include both scientists and engineers and focuses its research on different aspects of BP operations, including production of renewable energy, oil and natural gas, and development of innovative, efficient fuels and lubricants.
As just one example, the BSC works closely with BP Biofuels, which produces ethanol from sugar cane in Brazil. The lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions of this ethanol are 70 percent lower than conventional transportation fuels.
The BSC also provides specialist advice to Butamax, BP’s joint venture with DuPont. Butamax technology converts sugars from corn into an energy-rich biofuel known as bio-isobutanol,which can be blended with gasoline at higher concentrations than ethanol and transported through existing fuel pipelines and infrastructure.
In coming years, the BSC plans to expand its research into wastewater, remediation and enhanced oil recovery. It also plans to help BP make further progress on converting waste streams to biogas, cleaning legacy industrial sites and producing oil more efficiently from existing resources.