International petrochemical supplier BP has invested $10m in WasteFuel, a California-based biofuel start-up which aims to produce bio-methanol fuel from both agricultural and municipal waste. 

Bio-methanol can be created from waste using “anaerobic digestion” techniques and bp and WasteFuel will target the shipping industry with their product. 

The product has dual aims: along with low-carbon fuel creation, WasteFuel is hoping to help cut global waste levels which is estimated to hit 3.4 billion metric tonnes by 2050. 

Biofuel supply for the maritime industry is high on BP’s priorities, the company said and along with the cash injection, it will assist WasteFuel by sharing its sector expertise and taking the bio-methanol to market. 

bp ventures vice-president Gareth Burns explained the global fuel giant’s investment decision: “WasteFuel projects will look to help with the growing volumes of global waste, whilst advancing the development of lower carbon solutions for hard-to-abate sectors. 

“Achieving decarbonisation in shipping will require a step-change and biofuels have a key role to play in helping the industry to decarbonise. We look forward to working together on WasteFuel’s next stage of growth and market development.”

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WasteFuel said it plans to develop global bio-methanol plants, the first of which will be in Dubai, UAE. The two companies have additionally entered a memorandum of understanding for bp to offtake the produced bio-methanol and for the companies to collaborate on improving bio-methanol production yields and profits.

Philipp Schoelzel, vice-president of next-generation biofuels in bp, said: “bp is in action to produce more biofuels, aiming to deliver around 100,000 barrels per day by 2030, to help decarbonise transport. Investments like this are important as we strive to reach net zero and help our customers decarbonise too.”