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BP Aiming for Two New Biofuels by 2014


British Petroleum, otherwise known as BP, could be helping to solve some of the sustainable energy transportation puzzle. The British oil and gas giant is trying out two new advanced biofuels in hopes that they will hit the market by 2014, according to a recent Bloomberg article.

BP has a working demonstration biobutanol plant in Hull, England.

BP is also planting grasses to support a proposed 36-million-gallon-a-year cellulosic ethanol plant in Florida, the article said.

For those who are looking for some background, Biobutanol is created by fermenting biomass. Biobutanol can mix with higher concentrated gasoline, while current bioethanol can be retrofitted to produce biobutanol, the article said.

Cellulosic ethanol, meanwhile, comes from various plants, grasses, or inedible plant parts. The article points to cellulosic ethanol being advantageous over sugarcane-based fuels because grass material needed for the fuel can be grown anywhere in the world, compared to sugarcane, which is limited to countries in the equator area.

Demand for biofuels will increase in the future. BP estimates that, by 2030, 9% of the world’s transportation fuel sources will come from biofuel, up from 3% now.

The Bloomberg article cites climate change, potential for increased market revenue for depressed farming communities, and energy security concerns as the driving catalyst for biofuels’ upward future trend. Philip New, CEO of BP’s biofuels unit, also states:

“If you believe that demand for transport fuels is going to grow significantly, if you believe that for the foreseeable future we’re going to carry on using internal combustion engines and liquid fuels, then biofuels are going to be the only complement to crude oil that’s out there.”

In the near future, BP is looking at Louisiana, Texas, and Florida, in which grass can be grown in order to support biofuel plants, New said. He also said BP, by 2024, is aiming to have barrel costs between $60 and $80, compared to today’s barrel value within the $140 to $150 range.

Sources: Bloomberg/ British Petroleum
Photo Credit: British Petroleum

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