BP moves ahead with US cellulosic ethanol project

19 February 2009 16:40  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--Oil giant British Petroleum (BP) said on Thursday it planned to carry on a project to produce cellulosic ethanol in the US in partnership with US biotech firm Verenium Corporation.

The joint venture was originally announced in August and includes the construction of a 36m gal/year facility in Highlands County, Florida.

Production from the unit is scheduled to begin in 2012. Total investments in the plant are estimated at $250m-300m, according to the companies.

BP and Verenium said they would initially invest a combined $45m (€36m) in cash and assets in the project.

The BP-Verenium announcement follows news last week that Canadian biotech company Lignol decided to shelve a similar project in the US.

Lignol on 9 February called off plans to build a cellulosic ethanol plant in Colorado, citing unstable capital markets and volatile energy prices.

Cellulosic ethanol is produced from non-edible biomass, such as switch grass, corn stover and wood chips.

The US plans to use 16bn gal/year of cellulosic ethanol to meet a 36bn gal/year renewable fuels mandate set for 2022.

($1 = €0.80)

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By: William Lemos
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