BP Biofuels, Texas AgriLife Research sign agreement to advance biofuel feedstock development

COLLEGE STATION – BP Biofuels and Texas AgriLife Research, part of The Texas A&M University System, have signed a three-year agreement to develop and commercialize cellulosic feedstocks for the production of advanced biofuels.

The collaboration will utilize AgriLife Research’s diverse high biomass energy crop breeding program and BP Biofuels’ position as one of the few global energy companies growing commercial-scale biomass crops for liquid fuels.

“This partnership with BP Biofuels is a fine example of how the public sector and private industry can combine resources to create unique solutions for our world,” said John Sharp, chancellor of the Texas A&M System. “The innovation of our researchers ensures that AgriLife will play a role in meeting our energy needs.”

The research and development project has two integrated components — plant breeding and production agronomics.  Plant breeding efforts will be focused on developing new varieties of pearl-millet napiergrass, kinggrass, energy cane and miscane suitable for cellulosic biofuel feedstock production along the U.S. Gulf Coast.  To expedite the selection of commercially robust feedstocks, elite progeny from the plant breeding program will be advanced for demonstration-scale production at a research farm in Texas. The integration of plant breeding and production agronomics will enable BP Biofuels and AgriLife Research to develop elite genetics and production guidelines for future growers.

“Developing new varieties of energy grass is essential to commercializing a cellulosic biofuels industry that will enhance domestic energy security, create jobs for Americans and improve rural economies.Working with Texas AgriLife Research is an important step in the process of bringing clean transport fuels to scale and to market.” said Tom Campbell, technology vice president at BP Biofuels.

    “The opportunity to collaborate with BP Biofuels is an excellent opportunity for Texas AgriLife Research to perform market-driven, scientific research that will create future value to the producers of the State of Texas and beyond with an industry leader,” said Dr. Craig Nessler, director of AgriLife Research. “Renewable energy produced from dedicated energy crops will play a vital role for the 21st century economy.”

This new relationship between BP Biofuels and AgriLife Research emphasizes both entities’ commitment to make biofuels commercially competitive with more traditional fuels.  Through this agreement, AgriLife Research will continue to fulfill its research mission to strengthen agriculture’s position for global renewable energy and it will allow BP Biofuels to further pioneer the cellulosic biofuels market, officials said.

About Texas AgriLife Research/The Texas A&M University System
Texas AgriLife Research — the state’s premier research agency in agriculture, natural resources, and the life sciences — is headquartered at Texas A&M University in College Station, but serves the entire state through its on-campus units and regional centers. It is comprised of its College Station headquarters, 13 research centers reaching from El Paso to Beaumont and Amarillo to Weslaco, and associated research stations. A member of The Texas A&M University System, AgriLife Research has 1,600 employees, 500 of  which are doctoral-level scientists who are nationally recognized experts in their fields. AgriLife Research collaborates with more than 30 nations. Texas agricultural producers and consumers benefit directly from public investment in agricultural research in the forms of lower consumer prices, improved health and welfare, and an improved environment. Economic gains from investments in Texas’ public agricultural research have reached more than $1 billion over the past four decades.

About BP
BP has invested more in the United States  over the last five years than any other oil and gas company. With more than $52 billion in capital spending between 2007 and 2011, BP invests more in the U.S. than in any other country. The company is the nation’s second largest producer of oil and gas, a major oil refiner and a leader in alternative energy sources, including wind power and biofuels. BP provides enough energy each year to light the entire country. With 23,000 U.S. employees, BP supports nearly a quarter of a million domestic jobs through its business activities. For more information, view our BP in America animation video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6n9cZ1xxQw or visit http://www.bp.com.

About BP Biofuels
In 2005, BP made a commitment to spend $8 billion over 10 years on alternative energy. BP Alternative Energy is investing at a faster pace than this and has invested approximately $7 billion, with over $4 billion invested in the U.S. BP Alternative Energy has a focused biofuels strategy: the production of ethanol from sugarcane in Brazil, developing advanced fuel molecules including biobutanol, and commercializing cellulosic biofuels technology. Its cellulosic biofuels technology will use lignocellulosic biomass from dedicated energy grasses to produce advanced biofuels.

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