BP Grants $500M for Energy Biosciences Institute

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BP Grants $500M for Energy Biosciences Institute

BERKELEY, Calif. -- BP will donate $500 million over the course of the next decade to fund the Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI), a facility in collaboration with University of California Berkeley and its partners the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The facility will explore the use of biosciences to increase production and reduce the impact of energy consumption on the environment.

"This partnership, we believe, will have an immense positive impact on our world," Bob Malone, BP America chairman and president, said in a press conference yesterday.

The facility will research the production of new and cleaner energy, beginning its focus on renewable fuels for road transport. EBI will also research bioscience technology in other areas, including the conversion of heavy hydrocarbons to clean fuels, improved recovery from existing oil and gas reservoirs, and carbon sequestration, according to BP.

"The proposal from UC Berkeley and its partners was selected in large part because these institutions have excellent track records of delivering 'Big Science' -- large and complex developments predicated on both scientific breakthroughs and engineering applications that can be deployed in the real world," BP Group chief executive John Browne said in a written statement.

Both universities will house research laboratories and staff. As many as 50 BP staff will work in conjunction with the university faculty and researchers, while CP and its partners will share governance of the EBI and guidance to its research programs, the company stated.

"This is a day to celebrate. I can't tell you how excited I am that BP has chosen California and the University of California Berkeley for the facility," said California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. "This is great news for California and great news for U.S. ... We will be the world's center for biofuels research. We are not waiting for the biofuel revolution, we are the leaders."