BP cancels plan for Florida cellulosic ethanol plant

BP on Thursday cancelled plans to build a commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant in Highlands County, Florida, instead refocusing its US biofuels strategy on research and development as well as licensing its biofuels technology.

“Given the large and growing portfolio of investment opportunities available to BP globally, we believe it is in the best interest of our shareholders to redeploy the considerable capital required to build this facility into other more attractive projects,” said Geoff Morrell, BP vice president of communications.

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 gal/year of cellulosic ethanol.

While ending its pursuit of commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol production in the US, BP said it continues to invest in and operate its world-class biofuels research facility in San Diego, California, and a demonstration plant in Jennings, Louisiana, to further develop next-generation cellulosic biofuel technologies and license them for commercial use.

Globally, BP is a leading investor in commercial biofuels production. The company has completed construction of its joint venture 110 million gal/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, the company said. 

In addition, BP is developing advanced biofuel technologies via its joint venture investment in biobutanol company Butamax.

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