The October Surprise: BP Cancels Plans for US Cellulosic Ethanol Plant
by Jim Lane (Biofuels Digest) In Florida, BP announced it is canceling plans to build a 36 million gallon commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant in Highlands County. The company said that it would refocus its US biofuels strategy on R&D, as well as licensing its industry–leading biofuels technology.
… BP originally announced plans to build the Florida facility in 2008 with the intention of turning thousands of acres of energy crops into 36 million gallons per year of cellulosic ethanol.
While BP did not directly comment on its plans to build a second, 72 million gallon plant in the southeastern US by 2017, the company, in a statement, said that was “ending its pursuit of commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol production in the US.”
…The company has completed construction of its joint venture 110 million gallon per year ethanol plant in Hull, England, which is expected to come online later this year. In Brazil, BP took ownership of three sugarcane ethanol mills located in the Goiás and Minas Gerais states of Brazil in 2011 and is currently expanding production there. In addition, BP is developing advanced biofuel technology via its joint venture investment in biobutanol company Butamax.
The company said that it would continue to invest in and operate its biofuels research facility in San Diego and a its cellulosic ethanol demonstration plant in Louisiana — to further develop next generation cellulosic biofuel technologies and license them for commercial use.
… Increasing attacks on the RFS from a coalition of cattle, dairy, poultry and food manufacturing interests – primarily because of what they contend are rising grain prices from corn ethanol mandates — have ironically have had little impact on corn ethanol capacity, but have resulted in investor flight from advanced ethanol projects designed to move the US beyond corn as a feedstock.
… Ominously, the US Department of Agriculture, in establishing its Biomass Crop Assistance Program, did not establish any of its 11 BCAP project areas in Florida, Louisiana or Texas – where BP had focused its projects. READ MORE and MORE (The New York Times) and MORE (Reuters) and MORE (Sunshine State News) and MORE (Tampa Bay Times) and MORE (25 x’25) and MORE (Bloomberg BusinessWeek) and MORE (Ethanol Producer Magazine)