The company is planting energy grasses to feed a 36 million gallon-a-year cellulosic ethanol plant planned in Florida, he said in an interview in London today. A demonstration biobutanol plant in Hull, England, is operating, New said. A bioethanol plant in the same location should be producing by the end of this year, he said.
Biofuels could account for 9 percent of global transport fuels used by 2030, up from 3 percent now, according to BP. Drivers include climate-change targets in the U.S. and Europe, energy security concerns and the possibility the fuels may be a lucrative crop for ailing rural communities, New said.
“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,” he said.
Cellulosic ethanol uses micro-organisms to break down fibrous plants, making it possible to produce fuel from energy grasses. Unlike sugar cane, which flourishes around the equator, the grasses can be grown anywhere.
Biobutanol is produced by fermenting plant sugars and can be blended with gasoline at higher concentrations. Existing bioethanol can be retrofitted to produce biobutanol, New said. Biobutanol is a type of alcohol that’s used as a fuel.
BP is looking at sites in Texas, Florida and Louisiana where it could farm energy grasses and build new plants, he said. The company is targeting a cost of $60 to $80 a barrel by 2024 from $140 to $150 a barrel today, New said.
The two fuels and a new sugar-to-diesel product will be trialled in 100 vehicles during the London Olympic Games.
- BP Targets Commercial Availability of Two New Biofuels by 2014 – Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)
- New enzymes yield sustainable biofuel (livasperiklis.com)
- Deroy Murdock: High cost of fantasy fuel (junkscience.com)
- Ancient Fungi Could Help Fuel Our Future (izabael.com)
The presentation explored the question of whether the U.S. government is spending money on the right technology pathways. Costs were presented for biofuel produced from pyrolysis, algae, Fischer-Tropsch (FT), and methanol-to-gasoline (MTG) routes.
- NASA Biofuel Algae Being Grown Inside Floating Plastic Bags (cleantechies.com)
- Algae-based Biofuel: Pros And Cons (triplepundit.com)
- Algae Biofuel Thrives in the Heart of Oil Country (triplepundit.com)
August 16, 2011 at 11:41 am by Brett Clanton
The U.S. government will invest up to $510 million over the next three years to develop advanced aviation and marine biofuels for military and commercial transportation, President Barack Obama announced today.
Under the plan, the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Energy and Navy will partner with private industry to jointly construct or retrofit existing biofuel plants and refineries, with the goal accelerating output of renewable jet and diesel fuels, the White House said.
The administration touted the plan as a way to enhance both energy security and national security, while also helping domestic farmers.
“Biofuels are an important part of reducing America’s dependence on foreign oil and creating jobs here at home,” Obama said in a statement. “But supporting biofuels cannot be the role of government alone. That’s why we’re partnering with the private sector to speed development of next-generation biofuels that will help us continue to take steps towards energy independence and strengthen communities across our country.”
In the U.S., biofuels are largely derived from corn and vegetable oils. But producers are trying to develop “next generation” fuels from non-food crops, agricultural waste, wood chips, algae and other feedstocks that don’t impact the food supply. However, costs are high and technology hurdles remain.
The White House plan calls for the production of “drop in” biofuels that can be made in the same facilities as petroleum-based fuels and be transported through existing pipelines.