BP, ABF & Dupont Invest $400 M in UK Biofuels

The availability of biofuels in the UK took a step forward as BP, Associated British Foods (ABF) and DuPont announced investment plans totaling around $400 million, for the construction of a world-scale bioethanol plant alongside a high technology demonstration plant.

The bioethanol plant, in which BP and ABF subsidiary British Sugar would each hold 45 percent with DuPont owning the remaining 10 percent, will be built on BP’s existing chemicals site at Saltend, Hull. Due to be commissioned in late 2009, it will have an annual production capacity of some 420 million liters from wheat feedstock.

“We are delighted to be announcing, subject to the necessary approvals, the construction of a world-scale bioethanol plant in Hull with our partners ABF and DuPont to enable petrol biocomponents to be available to meet the 2010 Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation,” said Iain Conn, chief executive officer of BP’s refining and marketing business. “In addition we have also selected Hull as the preferred location for a planned biobutanol demonstration plant as laboratory research work on the production of this first advanced biofuel that we and partners DuPont will bring to market is progressing well.”

Although the plant will be built from scratch, it will have access to the existing infrastructure at the BP site for essential supporting services. The BP site in Hull has also been selected as the preferred location for a planned biobutanol demonstration plant, funded and owned equally by BP and DuPont which could produce around 20,000 liters of biobutanol a year from a wide variety of feedstocks.

The companies will import small quantities of biobutanol, sourced from an existing first generation manufacturing facility in China. The first product is expected to arrive by the end of the year and will be used to carry out infrastructure and advanced vehicle testing. This testing will build upon initial laboratory engine tests using conventional butanol, which indicated that butanol has similar fuel performance properties to unleaded petrol.

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