Global oil, gas, and energy major bp plc expands its investment in bioenergy as its corporate capital arm bp ventures has committed US$10 million, leading the Series B investment round, in WasteFuel Global LLC (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 biomethanol.
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Globally, solid waste production totals about 2 billion tonnes annually and is expected to increase to 3.4 billion tonnes by 2050 according to the World Bank.
WasteFuel’s deployment of anaerobic digestion (AD) and methanol production technologies will convert municipal and agricultural waste into viable lower-emission alternatives to traditional fuels, like biomethanol.
In hard-to-abate sectors, such as shipping, biomethanol has the potential to play a significant role in decarbonization.
Maritime transport represents around 90 percent of trade worldwide, whilst producing around 3 percent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
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 biomethanol to market.
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, said Gareth Burns, VP at bp ventures.
Dubai for first waste-to-methanol plant
Capitalizing on its unique IP portfolio and strategic partnerships, WasteFuel is working to lead the net-zero transition of the maritime transportation sector and has already made significant gains.
The company plans to develop multiple biomethanol plants around the world in collaboration with local strategic partners including waste companies.
According to WasteFuel, the capital from its Series B fundraising, which was led by bp ventures, will be used to finance the further development of a global network of low-carbon biomethanol facilities.
The first of these is anticipated to be built in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) to supply global transportation leaders with sustainable biomethanol to accelerate their transition to alternative fuels.
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 that are reliant on shipping work to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, it is essential that we dramatically expand the availability of these fuels, said Trevor Neilson, Co-founder, Chairman, and CEO of WasteFuel.
Methanol offtake with bp
In addition, bp and WasteFuel have entered a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for bp to offtake the produced bio-methanol and to work together to help optimize and improve bio-methanol production.
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 and power – will help drive bp’s transition to an integrated energy company and delivery of the company’s net zero ambition.
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, said Philipp Schoelzel, VP of Next Generation Biofuels at bp.
Both bp and WasteFuel are members of the Sustainable Markets Initiative (SMI).
About Sustainable Markets Initiative
The Sustainable Markets Initiative (SMI) is helping to lead the way for a just transition to a more sustainable future by putting Nature, People, and Planet at the heart of global value creation. To accelerate the delivery of a green and just transition, the SMI recognizes and will continue to leverage, the power of public-private-philanthropic partnerships.
The SMI’s power to convene top organizations from industry and financial services, alongside governments, is the key to unlocking the delivery of this transition. The work of the SMI centers around the Terra Carta, a framework launched by HM King Charles III, in his former role as The Prince of Wales to put Nature, People, and Planet at the center of economies.