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Biosciences Center

bp’s Biosciences Center in San Diego conducts innovative research, supports strategic investments and manages academic partnerships designed to accelerate the global transition to a low-carbon future
Employee in safety gear looking at equipment

Located in the heart of the biotech community in San Diego, bp’s Biosciences Center (BSC) studies how bioscience can deliver technology solutions to business challenges, add value to bp’s businesses and make them more sustainable.

The BSC team — consisting of dozens of scientists who have cross-disciplinary capabilities in biological sciences, chemical engineering and chemistry — works across bp, supporting many aspects of its operations. This includes the production of renewable energy, oil and natural gas, along with the development of innovative and efficient fuels, lubricants and bio-based products.

A lower-carbon future

The BSC supports bp’s strategy to help the world transition to a low-carbon energy future by:


  •  solving technical problems that involve biology
  • providing guidance on the role of biotechnology in bp’s operations
  • monitoring and evaluating disruptive technology
  • developing sustainable technology options for business growth.


“Biotechnology is a new tool for bp, and we are only beginning to explore its potential,” says Dr. Angelo Amorelli, vice president of group research. “At the BSC, we believe we have created a differentiated biotechnology capability that can deliver value to existing bp businesses and support bp’s longer-term strategies.”

Biotechnology in energy

bp believes biotechnology has the potential to significantly affect the economics and environmental impact of the energy sector.

For example, biotechnology applications in oil and gas production include areas such as enhanced oil recovery, souring control, wastewater treatment and remediation. Advances in these areas can improve the commercial viability of a reservoir and the environmental performance of the extraction process.

The BSC also provides engineering support to bp’s biofuels business, which produces ethanol from sugarcane in Brazil. This type of ethanol has lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions that are about 70 percent lower than conventional transportation fuels.

Meanwhile, the BSC provides specialist advice to Butamax*, bp’s joint venture with DuPont. The 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 infrastructures.


*Butamax® is a registered trademark of Butamax® Advanced Biofuels LLC.
Third-party research
Beyond its lab and business work, the BSC team works with world-class research programs based at UC-Berkeley, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, among other institutions.