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BP to Double Investment in Alt- and Renewable Energy

The DF1 project for hydrogen generation and carbon sequestration/enhanced oil recovery will become part of BP Alternative Energy.

BP today announced that it plans to double its investment in alternative and renewable energies and will create a new low-carbon power business that it expects could deliver annual revenues of around $6 billion within the next decade.

BP Alternative Energy will manage an investment program that could reach $8 billion over the next ten years in solar, wind, hydrogen and combined-cycle-gas-turbine (CCGT) power generation.

Consistent with our strategy, we are determined to add to the choice of available energies for a world concerned about the environment, and we believe we can do so in a way that will yield robust returns.

Our recent experience, particularly with solar, has given us the expertise and confidence to develop new products and markets alongside our mainstream business. We are now at a point where we have sufficient new technologies and sound commercial opportunities within our reach to build a significant and sustainable business in alternative and renewable energy.

—BP chief executive Lord Browne

BP Solar is currently tracking toward $1 billion in annual revenue by 2008. BP currently has 10% of the global solar market which is growing at 30% a year, faster than any other form of renewable energy, according to the company.

BP currently has more than 100 megawatts of solar manufacturing capacity in the US, Spain, India and Australia, with a plan to double its capacity before the end of next year. BP recently signed a strategic joint venture to access China’s expanding solar market and provide local manufacturing capacity and is exploring similar opportunities elsewhere in the region.

We are focusing our investment in alternatives and renewables on power generation because it accounts for over 40 per cent of man-made greenhouse gas emissions, the biggest single source. It is also the area where technology can be applied most cost-effectively to reduce emissions.

—Lord Browne

The first phase of the BP Alternative Energy investment will total about $1.8 billion over the next three years, spread in broadly equal proportions between solar, wind, hydrogen and CCGT power generation. Investment will be made step by step, and will depend on the nature of opportunities and their profitability.

The investment in hydrogen fuels will include the world’s first commercial project combining natural gas reforming and the geological sequestration of the resulting CO2 by pumping it into depleted oil reservoirs.

BP’s first “Decarbonized Fuels” project (DF1), announced in June, will use the hydrogen to generate 350 megawatts of electricity at a power station in Peterhead, Scotland, and re-inject the carbon dioxide into the offshore Miller field.

BP estimates that injecting the carbon dioxide into the Miller Field reservoir(more than three kilometers under the seabed) could extend the life of the field by about 20 years and enable additional production of about 40 million barrels of oil that are not currently recoverable.

BP is looking at a similar sequestration scheme to make hydrogen from low-value coke by-products at a US refinery which would be used to generate 500 megawatts at an adjacent new-build power plant.

Investment projected for wind represents a significant step up in this area of power generation for BP. The company currently runs two wind farms alongside existing oil plants in the Netherlands. It also owns industrial land in open, high-wind regions of the US, away from residential areas, providing the possibility to build the first large-scale US wind farm generating up to 200 megawatts in 2007. The company has identified enough US sites to accommodate wind turbines with a total capacity of 2,000 megawatts.

Projected investment in CCGT will be spent mainly in the US where the company already has significant co-generation capacity and is currently finalizing plans for a new $400 million scheme at one of its major plants that will deliver 100 megawatts of power to the plant, and 420 megawatts to the local electricity grid.

BP Alternative Energy will be based in Sunbury, Middlesex and initially employ some 2,500 people around the world.




Is it really a good idea to inject all the CO2 into seabed? Will those thing suddently burst out one day? Or it become another form?

(ahh, posting too fast and this anti spammer thing came out :p)

tom deplume

This looks like a PR feel good project. Inject CO2 in order to produce a fossil carbon fuel whose CO2 will not be sequestered.


It is ironic that the carbon sequestered is from a fuel that is less carbon intense (natural gas) than that produced (oil). Thus, we end up with more carbon in the air than we started out with. This isn't really a way to get "Beyond Petroleum".

BP doesn't really get it although they claim to. We really need to find ways to kiss carbon goodbye.

As for their planned investements in solar, etc.; they seem rather pathetic comared to their overall sales.

Must admit, though, BP has the best PR going.


I wouldn't be so hard on them. They were really the first petroleum company to admit that their chief product is slowly killing this planet, and to start investing in the means to eventually move "beyond petroleum". I'd really like to see them start investing in bio-fuels, though.


>> Is it really a good idea to inject all the CO2 into seabed? <<

I'm with rexis on this one. Something doesn't feel right about this (injecting CO2 underground). This seems like a quick/easy PR fix that will bite us in the behind someday if it becomes a common practice.

If you happen to be motoring along in a boat above this field in the future and a big venting of CO2 occurs, your boat will litterally sink into the bubbling water. Let alone venting above ground where animal and people reside.

An Engineer

"We really need to find ways to kiss carbon goodbye."

No we don't. There are several advantages to using liquid fuels (typically -CH2-) over gaseous fuels (such as H2).

What we need to do, is replace the fossil carbon with renewable carbon.

Harvey D

EP - Could you expand on safe ways to produce and use renewable carbon. A recent Cal U research indicated that emissions from producing renewable carbon and from using it to produce energy may be many times higher than using the feedstock directly. Did somebody find better ways?

An Engineer

I suspect the study you cite looked at converting food to fuel. It is obvious that the fuel of the future is not going to be food-based. USDA likes to push the idea because it adds to the already rich portfolio of agricultural subsidies.

We already produce a lot of cheap, renewable carbon. Unfortunately, most of it is currently going up in smoke! Consider for instance wood chips. See the article at

Quote: "A U.S. Department of Agriculture report says more than 1.3 billion tons of dry forest material waste is available in the nation for biomass systems. If used for energy, that would be equivalent to about 30 percent of the nation’s oil usage, the report said."

There are many other sources of cheap, renewable carbon: the EPA estimates that the US produces about 12 billion metric tons of waste a year. Of course, not all all of that is renewable carbon. Much of it is, though - some estimate as much as 50% of it is agricultural, i.e. cheap, renewable carbon.

That's the irony of clean energy: the main affordable source of clean energy is dirty trash!


"That's the irony of clean energy: the main affordable source of clean energy is dirty trash!"

And the so-called ultra clean synfuel is actually planet buster and eventually all of us will drown in CO2.

An Engineer

"And the so-called ultra clean synfuel is actually planet buster and eventually all of us will drown in CO2."

Yes, if you use coal or another fossil fuel as a source.

We are not talking about that! We are talking about renewable carbon, i.e. biomass. Since biomass is part of the natural carbon cycle, these technologies are carbon neutral.

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