BP Pledges $500 Million for Energy Biosciences Institute

BP plans to spend $500 million over the next ten years to establish a dedicated biosciences energy research laboratory attached to a major academic center in the U.S. or UK. The research will be aimed at applying bioscience to the production of cleaner fuels for road transport.

Chief executive Lord Browne said BP had begun discussions with several universities to identify a possible host for the BP Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI), with the aim of launching early research programs by the end of 2007. Browne said the EBI would be staffed by scientists drawn both from the host university and other academic institutions, along with a small number of specialists from BP. “The world needs new technologies to maintain adequate supplies of energy for the future, Browne said. “Bioscience is already transforming modern medicine and we believe it can bring immense benefits to the energy sector. By creating this integrated and dedicated research center, we plan to harness a technical discipline with enormous potential to provide new energy solutions.” The Institute would focus on developing biofuel components and improving the efficiency of current blends, devising technologies to accelerate conversion of organic matter to biofuel, and using plant science to develop species that produce a higher yield of energy molecules and can be grown on land not suitable for food production. “We expect demand for biofuels to rise significantly through the next decade to meet consumer desire for more environmentally responsible products and to satisfy the requirements of governments for more energy to be home-grown,” Browne said.