Oil giant BP has dropped plans to build a plant for next-generation biofuels in Florida.
Plans for the facility in the Highlands County of Florida were originally announced in 2008, with the intention of turning thousands of acres of energy crops into 36 million gallons per year of cellulosic ethanol.
The decision will come as a blow to the US government, which has a mandate to produce 8.65 million gallons of cellulosic biofuel in 2012- though that figure represents a significant downscale from the country’s initial plans for the year.
The US Congress originally mandated for 500 million gallons of cellulosic biofuel by 2012, but back-tracked as companies struggled to produce commercial quantities, Reuters UK reports.
BP, which planned to produce ethanol from non-food sources such as sorghum grasses at the new facility, is the second major oil company this year drop plans to produce second-generation ethanol.
The US oil industry's lobby group, the American Petroleum Institute, has sued the government over the mandate, calling it ‘unattainable and absurd’.
However others in the cellulosic biofuel industry remain firmly in support of the government’s efforts to build a market for the fuel.
"Every industry faces challenges at times, and the need to reallocate resources is a routine occurrence in the business world," Adam Monroe, president of Novozymes North America told Reuters. The company supplies enzyme solutions to the biofuel industry, which are needed to convert biomass to biofuel.
BP says it is refocusing its US biofuels strategy on research and development as well as licensing its industry–leading 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.
Faye has been writing about cars and environmental issues since 2007. A suspected eco-warrior working on the corporate inside, Faye mainly likes the weird, quirky vehicles that show a distinct environmental advantage. Her ideal car has enough room to fit a bale of hay in the boot. When not working, she likes nothing better than to head out on her bicycle and explore the countryside.
October 26, 2012
Filed under: Biofuels
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