bp ventures invests USD10 million in WasteFuel
bp ventures, bp’s corporate venture capital arm, has committed USD10 million in the Series B investment round of 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 bio-methanol.
“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 who 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, based in Pacific Palisades, California, U.S.A.
Globally, solid waste production totals about 2 billion metric tons annually and is expected to increase to 3.4 billion metric tons by 2050. WasteFuel’s deployment of anaerobic digestion and methanol production technologies will convert municipal and agricultural waste into viable lower emission alternatives to traditional fuels, like bio-methanol.
In hard-to-abate sectors, such as shipping, bio-methanol has the potential to play a significant role in decarbonisation. Maritime transport represents around 90% of trade worldwide, whilst producing 3% of global greenhouse gas 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 bio-methanol to market.
WasteFuel plans to develop multiple bio-methanol plants around the world in collaboration with local strategic partners including waste companies. WasteFuel expects its first project will be in Dubai. The company has a pipeline of additional projects to develop. bp and WasteFuel have signed a
memorandum of understanding for bp to offtake the produced bio-methanol and to work together to help optimise and improve bio-methanol production.
“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 decarbonisation in shipping will require a step-change, and biofuels have a key role to play in helping the industry to decarbonise. We look forward to working together on WasteFuel’s next stage of growth and market development,” said Gareth Burns, vice president of bp ventures.
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 & 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 optimise production which could support decarbonising shipping. bp is in action to produce more biofuels, aiming to deliver around 100,000 barrels per day by 2030, to help decarbonise transport. Investments like this are important as we strive to reach net zero and help our customers decarbonize too,” said Philipp Schoelzel, vice president of next generation biofuels in bp ventures.