BP supports new fuel for ships made from everyday waste Ship’s crew

By Jack Wittels (Bloomberg) —

BP Plc is investing in a California-based startup that will use uneaten food and other waste to create low-emission fuel.

The oil giant’s corporate venture capital arm, bp Ventures, is investing $10 million in WasteFuel, which converts municipal and agricultural waste into sustainable energy, including biomethanol for shipping.

“BP is in the process of producing more biofuels and aims to deliver around 100,000 barrels per day by 2030 to help decarbonize transport,” said Philipp Schoelzel, vice president of next-generation biofuels at the company.

The shipping industry transports more than 80% of world trade and is responsible for almost 3% of man-made CO2 emissions. High-level talks are now taking place at the London headquarters of the sector’s global regulator to discuss new emissions cuts Goals expected to be decided by the end of the week.

Methanol is one of the prime candidates to replace the petroleum-derived marine fuels that the world’s merchant fleet currently relies on. Depending on how it’s made, it can significantly reduce overall CO2 emissions and has already attracted large investments from shipping giants AP Moller-Maersk A/S and CMA CGM. However, it has a lower energy density than oil, so that comparatively more energy would have to be stored on board.

WasteFuel chose Dubai as its first project location, said Trevor Neilson, the startup’s CEO, in an interview, without giving details of future production volumes. There are plans for further expansion and the company has a letter of intent with BP that the oil giant will take over the biomethanol produced. BP will also work with WasteFuel to improve the production of biomethanol from waste.

“I think the world’s waste is a tremendous resource — a modern, eco-friendly version of what Jean Paul Getty discovered in Saudi Arabia,” Neilson said. “The demand in shipping will be enormous.”

WasteFuel’s other investors included Maersk, Marc Benioff’s TIME Ventures and philanthropist Aileen Getty.

“Although the demand for biomethanol is high, we anticipate that the primary use of waste fuel will be for shipping,” Neilson said.

© 2023 Bloomberg LP

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