Jul 10, 2023
bp expanded its investment in bioenergy today as bp ventures committed $10 million, leading the Series B investment round, in WasteFuel, a California-based biofuels company that will use proven, scalable technologies to convert bio-based municipal and agricultural waste into lower carbon fuels, such as bio-methanol.
Globally, solid waste production totals about 2 billion metric tons annually and is expected to increase to 3.4 billion metric tons by 20501. WasteFuel’s deployment of anaerobic digestion and methanol production technologies will convert municipal and agricultural waste into viable lower emission alternatives to traditional fuels, like bio-methanol.
In hard-to-abate sectors, such as shipping, bio-methanol has the potential to play a significant role in decarbonization. Maritime transport represents around 90% of trade worldwide, whilst producing 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions2. In the effort to reach net zero, some of the biggest companies in the shipping industry are converting to methanol-ready ships. bp is working to establish supplies of lower carbon alternative fuels for the shipping sector and will look to use its trading expertise to bring WasteFuel’s bio-methanol to market.
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WasteFuel plans to develop multiple bio-methanol plants around the world in collaboration with local strategic partners including waste companies. WasteFuel expects its first project will be in Dubai and the company has a pipeline of additional projects to develop. bp and WasteFuel have entered a memorandum of understanding for bp to offtake the produced bio-methanol and to work together to help optimize and improve bio-methanol production.
Gareth Burns, vice president of bp ventures, said: “WasteFuel projects will look to help with the growing volumes of global waste, whilst advancing the development of lower carbon solutions for hard-to-abate sectors. Achieving decarbonization in shipping will require a step-change, and biofuels have a key role to play in helping the industry to decarbonize. We look forward to working together on WasteFuel’s next stage of growth and market development.”
Bioenergy is one of bp’s five transition growth engines, in which the company plans to invest heavily through this decade. The transition growth engines – which also include convenience, electric vehicle charging, hydrogen and renewables & power – will help drive bp’s transition to an integrated energy company and delivery of the company’s net zero ambition.
Philipp Schoelzel, vice president of next generation biofuels in bp, said: “Working with WasteFuel allows bp to offtake bio-methanol and help optimize production which could support decarbonizing shipping. bp is in action to produce more biofuels, aiming to deliver around 100,000 barrels per day by 2030, to help decarbonize transport. Investments like this are important as we strive to reach net zero and help our customers decarbonize too."
Trevor Neilson, Co-founder, Chairman and CEO of WasteFuel added: “This investment from bp ventures is a significant milestone for WasteFuel as it will help scale the production of bio-methanol to decarbonize the shipping sector. As companies who are reliant on shipping work to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, it is essential that we dramatically expand the availability of these fuels.”