The New Sciontist : BP Subvertisers

Image Credit : Liberate Tate (Event Flyer)

The New Scientist magazine must be hard up. They’ve already bowed to economic pressure and taken the “king’s shilling” from the oil and gas industry by running Statoil advertisements, at least one made to look like a normal New Scientist article, giving Natural Gas a makeover as desirable as washing powder – all clean and reliable and loved by obsessives everywhere. Now they appear to have lost their power for critical reasoning and sunk to being suckers as billboards for BP spin, taking a front cover foldout for biofuels, with what I think is a completely deceitful portrayal of BP’s business.

The glowing advertisement reads, “Providing advanced biofuels for London 2012 : At BP we’re dedicated to fuelling the success of London 2012. We’re supporting British athletes like [paralympian] Stef Reid and also working to provide some of the official vehicles with advanced, lower carbon fuels made from energy grasses. London 2012. Fuelling the Future.”

Broking BP’s wares smacks of financial desperation on the part of the magazine, but allowing outright opportunism seems to me to be adopting very low standards indeed. BP seem to be attempting to mend their broken public relations record, and this advertisement slots right into that agenda, and in the process makes the New Scientist a “chosen son” of the 21st century royal owners of the economy – a fossil fuel energy salesmen. This is an archetypal sell out. This really is the last “energy grass” straw. Here’s just a few things about this advertisement that are manipulative or unjustifiable in my meagre opinion :-

1. Spin doctoring : biofuels – even “advanced biofuels” – are not necessarily “lower carbon”.

2. False impressions : “advanced biofuels” will only fuel 1% or less of the London Olympics 2012 vehicle fleet.

3. Hidden agenda : “advanced biofuels” may be the thin edge of the genetically modified wedge – a tank full of GMO derived gunk

4. Hyping the vision : BP’s sales of liquid bio-source vehicle fuels each year are minuscule compared to its core business.

5. Hidden failings : the social and environmental negatives from BP’s biofuels business



Hat Tip : Low Carbon Kid

1. Spin doctoring : biofuels – even “advanced biofuels” – are not necessarily “lower carbon”.

What are “advanced biofuels” made from “energy grasses” ?

http://advancedbiofuelsusa.info/truly-sustainable-renewable-future
“…The general current idea is that advanced biofuels are liquid fuels made from non-food, non-feed sustainably grown feedstocks and agricultural wastes, and, perhaps, municipal wastes…For example, a groups of potential energy crops are perennial grasses – either something like switchgrass or miscanthus or energy canes; or a mixture of perennial grasses. The idea is that these could be grown on marginal lands that are not so good for growing food; that they take little or no fertilizers and should not require irrigation; and, especially if perennial, require no or little tilling. Consider that as the ocean levels rise, in places along the East Coast [of the United States of America] in particular, some grasses that are salt-tolerant might be developed to be energy grasses and enable farmers in those areas to continue to grow some kind of valuable crops on their lands…”

The new International Energy Agency report “Biofuels for Transport” indicates that biofuels can provide carbon emissions reductions if production is done right :-

http://www.iea.org/publications/free_new_Desc.asp?PUBS_ID=2389

However, we already know that so-called “first generation” biofuels proved to have higher carbon emissions than projected :-

http://www.thegreencarwebsite.co.uk/blog/index.php/tag/rfa/

http://biofuelwatch.org.uk/docs/agrofuels_reality_check.pdf

http://www.sciencemag.org/content/319/5867/1238.abstract

“Use of U.S. Croplands for Biofuels Increases Greenhouse Gases Through Emissions from Land-Use Change”, Searchinger et al., Science, Volume 319, 29 February 2008, pages 1238 – 1240.

And “second generation” biofuels, now re-christened as “advanced biofuels”, are not yet proven to reduce emissions for their full lifecycle. One of the biggest factors in the accounting of carbon emissions are forest and farmland clearance for energy crops, and that’s possibly going to get worse for “advanced” biofuel crop production :-

“Land Clearing and the Biofuel Carbon Debt”, Fargione et al., Science, Volume 319, 29 February 2008, pages 1235 – 1238

“…land clearing may be further accelerated by lignocellulosic biofuels, which will add to the agricultural land base needed for biofuels, unless those biofuels are produced from crops grown on abandoned agricultural lands or from waste biomass…”




Image Credit : Jonathan Burton

2. False impressions : “advanced biofuels” will only fuel 1% or less of the London Olympics 2012 vehicle fleet.

http://www.bp.com/sectiongenericarticle.do?categoryId=9036378&contentId=7067213

“Fuelling the Games : We’re fuelling the official Games fleet and showing the potential of new and more sustainable mobility options…During the Games we’ll be providing fuels and engine oils for over 5,000 official vehicles…The Games fleet will be fuelled with BP Ultimate – fuels that demonstrate outstanding improvements in engine cleanliness and protection, driving better efficiency and emissions…BP will provide responsible transport fuelling options such as advanced biofuel blends, prior to their commercial launch. BP will demonstrate the huge potential of biofuel blends by making them available in limited quantities at BP’s retail site on the Hammersmith flyover in west London, at a scale to fuel 40 vehicles in the official Games fleet. At the flyover site, we will promote biofuels: from a new technology that unlocks the potential of energy grasses; a new technology that converts sugars into diesel and a new generation of advanced fuel molecule for blending with petrol…”

So only 40 vehicles out of over 5,000 will be powered by energy from grass. The rest will be fuelled by BP Ultimate, which is a fossil fuel with a few biologically sourced components, and other additives :-

http://www.bp.com/retail/sectiongenericarticle.do?categoryId=9036643&contentId=7067702#7249863

“What’s in these new BP Ultimate fuels? : Our new generation Ultimate fuels are a special blend of different components at varying levels, carefully selected and developed to deliver the clean and protect benefits of these fuels…”

http://www.bp.com

“Why is BP introducing a new generation of Ultimate fuels? : Our previous generation of Ultimate fuels were great products that were developed and tested using engines and vehicles from pre 2006 and at a time when bio-fuel legislation was in its infancy. The last few years have seen major advances in engine technology and increased levels of different bio-components in our fuels, which means that our current products are reaching the end of their natural shelf life. New and improved Ultimate fuels have been specially designed to complement and enhance these sophisticated state-of-the art engines as well as continuing to offer benefits for older ones too…”

Does anybody outside of BP know what the new recipe for BP Ultimate is ? What effect will its fuel exhaust have on health and the environment ? Has anybody tested this ?




3. Hidden agenda : “advanced biofuels” may be the thin edge of the genetically modified wedge – a tank full of GMO derived gunk

http://www.bp.com

“…BP has a focused biofuels strategy, investing in the production of ethanol from sugarcane in Brazil from lignocellulosic feedstocks, including dedicated energy grasses, in the US and the development of
the advanced fuel molecule biobutanol in partnership with DuPont…”

So what is the chemistry underlying this collaboration ? Genetically engineered micro-organisms :-

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v474/n7352_supp/full/474S09a.html

“Chang recently found a way to boost butanol production by tenfold, at least in the laboratory. She plucked a combination of genes from different organisms and expressed them in Escherichia coli. Some of the genes are from a strain of the bacterium Clostridium that naturally produces butanol…James Liao, a chemical and biomolecular engineer at the University of California, Los Angeles…altered a pathway in Clostridium so that the bacterium produced the branched version of butanol – isobutanol…Several companies are trying to commercialize butanol or isobutanol production from biomass…In December 2010, the biotech company Green Biologics, of Abingdon, United Kingdom, announced a deal to provide its fermentation technology, based on a Clostridium strain, to two Chinese biochemical companies. Butamax Advanced Biofuels, a joint venture between the oil company BP and the chemical giant DuPont, has opened a demonstration plant in Hull, United Kingdom, and expects to have a commercial plant operating by 2013. And Gevo, an advanced biofuels company in Englewood, Colorado, is converting an ethanol production facility in Minnesota to produce about 68 million litres of isobutanol per year from 2012. Like ethanol, butanol would probably enter the market as a petrol blend…

http://www.biobutanol.com/Biobutanol-Producers-Gevo,-Butamax,-Cobalt,.html

“…Butamax : Joint venture: BP and Dupont : Process utilizes the fermentation of corn : Will alter existing ethanol plants for isobutanol production : Commercialize butanol by 2012 – 2013 : Use of genetically engineered yeast : Will extend reach to brazil in 2013 with the construction of a butanol plant…”

To start to get a view on what could be viewed as BP’s truly gargantuan plan to take over the world with bioengineered fuel, you need to see this short YouTube film :-

http://www.biofuelwatch.org.uk/docs/BP.pdf

“BP’s role in the global agrofuel industry : Biofuelwatch, updated November 2009 : …UK Wheat ethanol: BP, DuPont and Associated British Foods (which includes British Sugar) are jointly building one of the UK’s largest planned wheat ethanol refineries, at Hull, with a 420 million litre per annum capacity. The company will operate under the name Vivergo Fuels and BP holds 45% of the shares. The plant will consume 1 million tonnes of wheat per year, at a time of record and fast rising wheat prices. BP expect the refinery to open in 2010 and state that they plan to later retrofit it to produce biobutanol. Together with another refinery which Ensus is planning to open shortly it will use 19% of the UK’s wheat harvest (based on 2009 figures) and makes it far more likely that the UK will become a net importer of wheat, pushing up wheat prices worldwide…”

“…A $200 million joint venture with DuPont, called Butamax, to build the world’s first demonstration plant to produce biobutanol. The joint venture was agreed in 2006 and the refinery is expected to open in 2012/13 and to produce 20,000 litres a year. Biobutanol is a biofuel made from solid biomass which could be used for aviation. Commercialisation depends on genetically engineering bacteria (synthetic biology). BP expects sugar cane to be the main feedstock for their biobutanol production worldwide…”

Of course, one potential way to avoid the competition between wheat grown for food and wheat grown for fuel is to genetically modify, patent and own a GM wheat crop, which could be branded as an “energy grass”, and not a food or a feed, because wheat is, after all, just a grass :-

http://www.gmfreeze.org/news-releases/159/

“Defra Should Reject GM Wheat : £1.28 million of public money for a crop with “no market””

http://www.biofuelwatch.org.uk/docs/BP.pdf

“…joint venture with Mendel Biotechnology, Inc. to develop cellulosic biofuels, which commenced in 2007. BP has acquired shares of Mendel and is on their Board. The aim is to accelerate a plant breeding programme for perennial grasses which have been genetically engineered specifically for ethanol production…”

This type of activity could be just the chilling tip of a Frankenstein non-food non-feed iceberg – potatoes could be next – and we all know you can make potcheen alcohol with them :-

http://labelgmos.org/2011/06/help-stop-gm-potatoes-in-norfolk/



4. Hyping the vision : BP’s sales of liquid bio-source vehicle fuels each year are minuscule compared to its core business.

BP loudly trumpets its success in biofuels of all kinds :-

1.03 billion gallons of ethanol in 2008
1.66 billion gallons of biodiesel in 2008

http://www.bp.com

“BP is a major biofuels operator. For example, in the US we blended more than 1.03 billion gallons of ethanol and 1.66 million gallons of biodiesel into fuels in 2008…”

36 million gallons of Vercipia Biofuels projected for 2012 :-

http://www.biofuelwatch.org.uk/docs/BP.pdf

“BP’s investment in ‘next generation’ agrofuel research and development involves: A partnership with Verenium to develop and commercialise cellulosic ethanol, to turn whole sugar cane plants and miscanthus into ethanol, with BP investing $90 million. A second joint venture with Verenium, called Vercipia Biofuels, involves a cellulosic ethanol plant in Highlands Country, Florida which BP expects to commence commercial production in 2012 and to produce up to 36 million gallons a year…”

Three mills in Goias and Minas Gerais states in Brazil each producing 480 million litres of ethanol equivalent per year and each mill will be able to export 340 GWh of electricity per year :-

http://www.bp.com/genericarticle.do?categoryId=9024973&contentId=7067732

“BP has agreed to pay approximately US$680 million to acquire 83 per cent of the shares of CNAA and to refinance 100 per cent of CNAA’s existing long term debt…BP will acquire two operational mills and a third that is under construction. All the mills are in the Centre-South regions of Brazil, in Goiás and Minas Gerais states…The total planned combined crushing capacity of all three mills, when fully developed, is expected to be 15 million tonnes of sugar cane per year. At full capacity, each mill will have a production capacity of about 480 million litres of ethanol equivalent per year. Each mill will also have the capacity to export approximately 340GWh of electricity per year to the grid…”

Tropical BioEnergia mill in Edeia, Goias state in Brazil producing 435 million litres of ethanol per year, with another planned (of perhaps a similar size) :-

http://www.bp.com

“…Since 2008, BP has held a 50% share in Tropical BioEnergia S.A., which operates an ethanol mill in Goiás state with a production capacity of 435 million litres of ethanol per year. The ownership and operation of this mill is not impacted by this acquisition…”

http://www.bp.com

“Tropical fact sheet : In 2008, BP invested in a 50% stake in Tropical BioEnergia S.A., a joint venture established by Louis Dreyfus Commodities/Santelisa Vale (LDC/SEV) and Maeda Group, which will operate a 435 million litre (115 million gallon) a year ethanol refinery in Edéia, Goias State, Brazil. The joint venture also intends to progress plans to build a second ethanol refinery, investing a total of approximately US$1 billion (R$1.66 billion) in the two refineries…BP Biofuels a growing alternative…”

1.4 million gallons per year concept plant at Jennings, Louisiana, US.
36 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol from a Vercipia Biofuels plant in Highlands County, Florida, USA
:-

http://www.bp.com

“Proving the technology : By developing a robust technology package and proving it at scale, BP will have the capability to deploy the technology package at commercial facilities for use in biofuel production in the US market. To support this objective, BP will acquire a 1.4 million gallon-per-year (40 ton/day feedstock) : demonstration facility in Jennings, Louisiana. The facility includes integrated enzyme manufacturing, fermentation facilities and an analytical laboratory…”

“BP will become the 100% owner of Vercipia Biofuels, based in Tampa, Florida. Vercipia is advancing next-generation biofuels through the development and commercialization of cellulosic ethanol. Vercipia will utilize dedicated energy canes and grasses, both abundant biomass feedstocks, in conjunction with BP’s proprietary, novel enzymatic conversion technology. Vercipia is currently progressing the design and engineering required to develop one of the first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol facilities in the US, located in Highlands County, Florida…The facility is expected to produce up to 36 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol per year…”

But the reality is that biologically sourced fuels make up only a tiny fraction of its global business :-

http://www.bp.com/sectionbodycopy.do?categoryId=7500&contentId=7068481

http://www.bp.com

BP Statistical Review of Energy 2011

Oil production page 8

Global annual production of fossil fuel liquid vehicle fuels : 82,095 thousand barrels per day, or 29,964,675 barrels of oil.

Biofuels production page 39

Global annual production of biofuels in 2010 : 59,261 thousands of tonnes of oil equivalent, or roughly 438,531 barrels of oil equivalent, that is roughly 1.5% of the amount of fossil fuel liquid fuels.

[ UPDATE : THESE FIGURES ARE FOR GLOBAL PRODUCTION OF BIOUELS. THE NUMBERS INCLUDE BP’S PRODUCTION. I HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO FIND A DEFINITIVE ACCOUNT OF BP’S ACTUAL OWN BIOFUELS PRODUCTION. AND YES, BEFORE YOU ASK, I HAVE READ VIRTUALLY ALL THE REPORTS I CAN FIND ON THEIR WEBSITE. SOME LINKS I HAVE TRIED : http://www.bp.com/…&contentId=7068633 http://www.bp.com/…/renewables_section_2011.pdf http://www.bp.com/…&contentId=7066907 http://www.bp.com/…/BP_Annual_Report_and_Form_20F.pdf http://www.bp.com/…/BP_Summary_Review_2010.pdf http://www.bp.com/…&contentId=7066618 http://www.bp.com/…/FOI_2006_2010_full_book.pdf http://www.bp.com…/bp_first_quarter_2011_results.pdf ]




5. Hidden failings : the social and environmental negatives from BP’s biofuels business

The BP advertisement shows paralympian Stef Reid sailing through a field of “energy grasses”. One senses a nobility, a triumph of will over circumstances.

It would be far more accurate to replace the athlete with the sun-burned, landless serfs of Brazil who are indentured to harvest the energy crops.

http://knowledge.allianz.com/?1463/biofuels-unethical-Europe-policies-alternative-fuels

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/apr/13/biofuels-targets-unethical

http://news.mongabay.com/bioenergy/2007/07/brazilian-government-frees-sugarcane.html

http://lynnadventuringabroad.blogspot.com/2009/11/camping-in-backlands-researching-in_28.html

If the industry gets mechanised, the poor workers will be further disadvantaged. Originally thrown off land to make way for the energy crop plantations, they will no longer have any means of growing their own food, or of earning even a seasonal living :-

http://www.greenlaunches.com/biofuels/brazil-sugarcane-workers-are-soon-to-feel-the-corporate-axe.php

For the environment, however, it might be good to move from sugarcane to grasses :-

http://www.dailytech.com




Further reading on fuel blending and genetic modification for the production of fuels and fuel additives and biological components :-

http://www.ecotravel.org.uk/fuels.html


“…Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation (RTFO) …introduced in April 2008 and by 2011 5% by volume of UK road fuel sales must be from renewable sources. The Government will review the 5% limit after 2011 with a view to increasing the percentage mix of biofuel if possible. Using biofuels helps to reduce emissions. The actual reduction in CO2 [carbon dioxide] emissions varies widely depending upon the feedstock and the production method. Some methods result in more CO2 being released than using standard fuel whilst others are CO2 negative (they remove more CO2 than they emit). It is anticipated that the biofuels introduced under the RTFO will result in at least a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions. For instance a 5% biofuel (5% bio element 95% petrol or diesel) reduces CO2 emissions by about 2.5%. To begin with most biofuels at the pump will be limited to a 5% maximum mix. This is due to the fact that most manufacturer engine warranties will currently only allow 5% biofuels to be used, although some manufacturers already allow B30 (30% biodiesel 70% diesel) to be used. Specialised “flex fuel” vehicles are already available which will allow any mix between pure petrol and E85 (85% bioethanol 15% petrol) to be used…”

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v474/n7352_supp/full/474S09a.html


“Chang recently found a way to boost butanol production by tenfold, at least in the laboratory. She plucked a combination of genes from different organisms and expressed them in Escherichia coli. Some of the genes are from a strain of the bacterium Clostridium that naturally produces butanol…Similar attempts by other researchers have […] suffered from low productivity…So, instead of importing the entire butanol-making pathway of Clostridium, Chang mixed in genes of two other bacteria, Treponema denticola and Ralstonia eutropha…Shota Atsumi, a chemist at the University of California, Davis…has also inserted genes from other organisms into E. coli to induce the bacteria to produce various forms of butanol, as well as the five-carbon alcohol pentanol…Atsumi’s collaborator on the project – James Liao, a chemical and biomolecular engineer at the University of California, Los Angeles – recently produced a higher alcohol in a process that combines two sought-after advantages over ethanol production from corn. He started with a species of Clostridium that, unlike many butanol-producing strains, can digest cellulose, thereby enabling more of the available biomass to be used. Instead of pressing E. coli into service, Liao altered a pathway in Clostridium so that the bacterium produced the branched version of butanol – isobutanol. Isobutanol has the same chemical formula as butanol but a different structure that improves its engine performance and makes it easier to synthesize into other chemicals. Several companies are trying to commercialize butanol or isobutanol production from biomass…”

http://alfin2300.blogspot.com/2011/03/faster-butanol-bio-synthesis-from-uc.html

“2 March 2011 : A Faster Butanol Bio-Synthesis from UC Berkeley Chemists : University of California, Berkeley, chemists have engineered bacteria to churn out a gasoline-like biofuel at about 10 times the rate of competing microbes, a breakthrough that could soon provide an affordable and “green” transportation fuel…The advance is reported in this week’s issue of the journal Nature Chemical Biology _UCBerkeley : Butanol is far superior to ethanol as either a fuel additive in gasoline and diesel, or as a drop-in substitute for gasoline in modern engines. Up until now it has been too expensive to ferment butanol from sugars, but UC Berkeley’s gene-modified chimeric E. Coli may be the beginning of a new butanol age. By transplanting genes from Clostridium acetobutylicum, Treponema denticola and Ralstonia eutrophus, into E. Coli, the Berkeley scientists are helping lay the groundwork for a brave new microbial world of frankenstein fuel factories…”

http://richardbrenneman.wordpress.com/2011/03/14/bp-makes-major-agrofuel-move-ucla-beats-cal/

http://escholarship.org/uc/item/1tg0n7wk;jsessionid=C0CB2282B71F9F0EF5063D96CCDBA08B

“Metabolic engineering of microorganisms for biofuels production: from bugs to synthetic biology to fuels : Author: Kuk Lee, Sung : Publication Date: 07-13-2010, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2008/jun/19/chemistry.agriculture
“Synthetic biology aims to solve energy conundrum : Designer enzymes are big business as the need to produce viable biofuels grows – but can they offer a long-term alternative? Chris Edwards,
The Guardian, Thursday 19 June 2008”

A little history of resistance on this :-

http://www.gmwatch.org/latest-listing/1-news-items/3612-biofuels-and-the-green-resistance-stop-bp-berkeley


“15 March 2007…The still nascent Stop BP movement began as a response to British Petroleum’s offer to fund a secretive half-billion dollar bio-energy laboratory on the University of California at Berkeley campus. Ostensibly, the idea is to genetically engineer plants to yield more ethanol, but other likely projects include research into better burning ethanol. BP learned awhile back in New South Wales that high ethanol content burns out engines. They learned this from their customers who were livid to discover the damage after they had breakdowns and stopped buying BP products. But such incidents now seem to serve BP’s interests since they make the issue of biofuel research seem pressing, thus helping them push research deals through quickly and out of sight. The Stop BP at Berkeley Campaign, however, worries not only about a lack of oversight, but also that there is no guarantee that BP or UC Berkeley will devote any of this research treasure to ensuring the safety of food supplies and fragile ecologies as these new organisms (or products) are grown and released…”

A little up-to-date resistance :-

http://foodfreedom.wordpress.com/2011/01/21/bp-genetically-modifying-gulf-of-mexico/

http://www.soci.org/Chemistry-and-Industry/CnI-Data/2010/3/Synthetic-biology-breakthrough-may-fuel-future


“Synthetic biology breakthrough may fuel future : Andrew Turley, 08/02/2010 : Bacteria that can produce ‘high-energy’ biofuels, such as biodiesel, direct from simple sugars, or light up in coordinated waves could provide a turning point in the fortunes of synthetic biology – a field that has so far failed to fulfil its early promise. Researchers from the University of California, US, engineered E coli to produce biodiesel, or fatty esters, from glucose, without the need for other carbon sources (Nature 2010, 463, 559). They then engineered the same strain to express hemicellulases, enzymes that break down hemicellulose, a step towards bacteria that can produce biodiesel direct from cellulosic biomass. Global biodiesel consumption is more than 2bn gallons/year. Companies make fatty esters commercially by reacting triglycerides from vegetable – or less commonly animal – oils with alcohols. But using vegetable oils as a fuel feedstock is economically and environmentally problematic, critics say. For example, as farmers switch to crops for biodiesel, food production could fall, exacerbating food scarcity and driving up prices. In addition, high demand for energy and land scarcity could encourage farmers in ecologically rich, but economically poor, regions to cut down forests to make way for crops. Biodiesel can be made from cellulosic biomass, waste plant material, such as wood chips, or nonfood crops, such as grasses. But, using current methods, it is more difficult and more expensive. Scientists hope to bring the cost down by getting bacteria to do the hard work. E coli, for example, will grow on plant sugars. In earlier work, scientists made E coli that produced ethanol, which they used to chemically convert fatty acids into fatty esters (Microbiology 2006, 152, 2529). But fatty acids are not a commercially viable feedstock, which limits the potential of this approach. Therefore, the Californian researchers redirected the E coli fatty acid metabolism towards fatty esters and other commercially useful fuel and chemical products. Crucially, they encouraged the bacteria to produce more fatty acids, while expressing key enzymes that caused esterification. Commercially viable bacteria that performed all the steps in the chain inside their cells – bacteria for ‘consolidated bioprocessing’ – would make biofuel production easier and cheaper, the researchers say in the paper. ‘This engineering strategy supports yields of these products within an order of magnitude of that required for commercial production,’ they add…”

http://www.gmwatch.eu/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=12478


“Venter’s one-man algae fuels bubble : Monday, 13 September 2010 : 1.Craig Venter’s one-man algae fuels bubble : 2.One-Third of Americans Back Ban on Synthetic Biology : 3.Berkeley-BP Deal Only Looks Worse Post-Spill : EXTRACT: “The truth is, neither [Venter nor Keasling] will succeed in replacing petroleum for many reasons, including the fact that [genetically modified organisms] are not as robust as wild species.” NOTE: Related articles: *Biofuels, BP-Berkeley, and the New Ecological Imperialism: http://ht.ly/2CCFo : *Gates, BP and DiFi’s spouse buy into company using genetic engineering to produce biofuels: http://bit.ly/bSbzjn : *Democracy Now: Why is Oil Giant BP Helping Develop California Schools Environmental Curriculum? http://bit.ly/bVndFr : *BP, the fox in the public school henhouse: http://bit.ly/cCieQ…”

http://biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/2011/07/05/x-fuels-and-x-bugs/


“X-fuels and X-bugs : Jim Lane, July 5, 2011 : Bio-adjacent, low-carbon extreme fuels and extremophile organisms open up new horizons in yields and sustainability : There are a class of fuels that are deeply rooted in biological process, and share the goal of replacing fossil fuels with low-carbon substitutes, but are not strictly biofuels. Huh? Well, think of fuels that are generated directly from biomass precursors, such as CO2, water, and sunlight. Some use micro-organisms to perform the transformation, some are thermo-chemical in nature – but they are making organic molecules, even if they are not making or using life forms that contain DNA. They are distinct from, say, synthetic fuels made from fossil-based sources, such as coal-to-liquid fuels, because they are low-carbon in nature, even if they are not made from biomass. There are also a group of new processes bubbling up from the labs – based in extremophile micro-organisms, or new understanding of the role played by symbionts (co-operative “hosted” organisms, such as the bacteria that assist organisms in digestion). What can we call all these extreme organisms and hard-to-categorize processes? Here at the Digest, we are broadly categorizing them as X-fuels and X-bugs…”

http://www.bp.com

“U.S. Regulatory Environment : In pursuit of energy security, lower carbon fuels, and rural development opportunities, the U.S. government provides the regulatory framework necessary to develop a scaled and sustainable cellulosic biofuels industry. The Renewable Fuel Standard 2 (RFS 2) creates a robust and carefully considered regulatory structure for the development of various types of advanced biofuels, including cellulosic biofuels. By 2022, the RFS 2 requires the blending of 16 billion gallons of cellulosic biofuels, which would represent nearly 10% of the U.S. gasoline supply. In addition, the RFS 2’s requirements for environmental performance ensure that the next generation of biofuels achieves at least a 60% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions compared to gasoline.”

“Feedstocks : Ethanol will be produced from feedstocks such as energy cane and energy grasses using proprietary technology. Energy grasses contain large amounts of energy in the “sugars” held in their cell walls. These sugars can be difficult to extract, but using new advanced technologies it is possible to convert the sugars into liquid fuel. This means higher volumes of fuel produced from each tonne of feedstock, and each acre of land, compared to current-generation biofuel feedstocks like corn and other advanced biofuel feedstocks such as agricultural wastes. High-yield energy grasses can produce an estimated 1,000 to 2,000 gallons of biofuel per acre, compared with approximately 400 to 500 gallons per acre from corn and 150 to 200 gallons per acre from agricultural wastes. Energy grasses can be grown on lower quality agricultural land – land that is not well suited to growing food crops economically.”

“Fueling the future with biofuels : BP has announced that it will make a strategic acquisition of Verenium Corporation’s biofuels business. The transaction will enable BP to advance its objective to produce advanced cellulosic ethanol in the US through the development of low cost, low carbon, sustainable biofuels at scale using proprietary technologies. A diverse energy mix is important to future U.S. energy security. In growing a material U.S. biofuels business, BP will contribute to energy security by providing low-carbon biofuels to the transport sector. BP will also create new jobs in the construction and operation of biofuel facilities. In addition jobs will be created in the agricultural sector, particularly in the south eastern states where climatic conditions support the production of biomass such as energy cane at the scale required to supply large-scale, commercial biofuel production facilities.”

“A strategic acquisition : BP is committed to building a large-scale biofuels production business with a technology platform based on the biological conversion of sugars to biofuels using sustainable, low cost feedstocks. The company is producing Brazilian sugarcane ethanol, is accelerating the commercialization of bio-isobutanol as an advanced biofuel, and is developing the technology to convert sugars to biodiesel. It is also building a worldclass ethanol plant in the UK. A significant strand of the company’s strategy is building an industry-leading cellulosic ethanol business in the US.”

“The acquisition of Verenium Corporation’s biofuels business will give BP access to proprietary biomass-to-ethanol conversion technologies, a leading edge research and development (R&D) capability and a biofuels demonstration facility necessary to advance the company’s cellulosic ethanol strategy. This capability will initially be focused on supporting BP’s strategic goal to build its US-based cellulosic ethanol business, and will enable BP to integrate other proprietary biofuel technologies through R&D and scaleup in the future.”

http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=39592

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/11/us-bp-idUSTRE72A4BX20110311

http://www.bp.com/genericarticle.do?categoryId=9025016&contentId=7066349

http://www.bp.com/sectiongenericarticle.do?categoryId=9030039&contentId=7055156

http://www.bp.com/sectiongenericarticle.do?categoryId=9030051&contentId=7055185

http://www.bp.com/sectiongenericarticle.do?categoryId=9030044&contentId=7055172

http://news.mongabay.com/bioenergy/2008/02/us-epa-raises-biofuel-target-for-2008.html

http://www.theengineer.co.uk/news/biofuels-need-more-production-reports-says-rfa/1007155.article

And finally, BP continues to interfere with the educational process by engaging young engineers in a competition to design a fake carbon capture system (when the fuel is burned, the carbon dioxide is re-released !) :-

http://www.gradcracker.com/blog/article/83/imperial-colleges-meltdown-win-bp-ultimate-field-trip

3 thoughts on “The New Sciontist : BP Subvertisers”

  1. Still wondering if i should renew my NS subscription in light of their increasingly sceptic-friendly editorial trend

  2. Yup, I agree. I think they are hard up, magazine subscriptions are a discretionary item that people will cut back on as the depression bites harder, plus most of it can be read for free online.

    Hence taking the devils dollar.

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