Bioenergy

BP & Martek Biosciences To Develop Biofuels

BP and Martek Biosciences Corporation announced the signing of a Joint Development Agreement (JDA) to work on the production of microbial oils for biofuels applications. The partnership combines a broad technology platform and operational capabilities to advance the development of a step-change technology for the conversion of sugars into biodiesel.

Under the terms of the multi-year agreement, Martek and BP will work together to establish proof of concept for large-scale, cost effective microbial biodiesel production through fermentation. The technology has been demonstrated in Martek’s field for more than 20 years and the challenge is to adapt this technology to the needs of the biofuels market, in terms of product profile and economics.

“As an alternative to conventional vegetable oils, we believe sugar to diesel technology has the potential to deliver economic, sustainable and scaleable biodiesel supplies. In partnering with Martek, we combine the world’s leading know-how in microbial lipid production with our expertise in fuels markets and applications, and our more recent experience in biofuels production and commercialization,” said Philip New, CEO of BP Biofuels.

BP has agreed to contribute up to $10 million to this initial phase of the collaboration. Martek will perform the biotechnology research and development associated with this initial phase, while BP will contribute to its integration within the biofuels value chain.

All intellectual property owned prior to the execution of the JDA will be retained by each respective company, and all intellectual property developed during the JDA will be owned by BP, with an exclusive licence to Martek for application and commercialization in nutrition, cosmetic and pharmaceutical applications.

The sugar to biodiesel pathway uses advanced biological science to convert sugars derived from biomass into lipids using unique fermentation micro-organisms; the lipids are then converted into fuel molecules through chemical or thermocatalytic processes.

Biodiesel produced from sustainable feedstocks via the fermentation of sugars will offer the potential to deliver greenhouse gas emission reductions of up to 80-90% when compared to traditional fossil fuel.