Monday, November 28, 2005

BP to Create BP Alternative Energy Business Unit

BP has announced that it plans to double its investment in alternative and renewable energies to create a new low-carbon power business with the growth potential to deliver revenues of around $6 billion a year within the next decade. Building on the success of BP Solar business unit, which expects to hit revenues of $1 billion in 2008, BP Alternative Energy will manage an investment program in solar, wind, hydrogen and combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power generation, which could amount to $8 billion over the next ten years. Readers will note that within this $8 billion are included investments in natural gas power generation which as a fossil fuel is not in my opinion a form of alternative energy and also investment in hydrogen which is a carrier of energy rather than a source. It should also be noted that the vast majority of BP's approximately $15 billion annual investment budget will remain focussed on oil and gas projects, which currently offer much higher returns.

BP chief executive Lord Browne said "We are now at a point where we have sufficient new technologies and sound commercial opportunities within our reach to build a significant and sustainable business in alternative and renewable energy."

Browne said the first phase of investment would total some $1.8 billion over the next three years, spread in broadly equal proportions between solar, wind, hydrogen and CCGT power generation.

Investment in solar over the next three years is planned to boost BP's leading position as a leading manufacturer and supplier of photovoltaic systems. In a field where technology improvements and higher productivity are causing costs to decline, BP currently has 10 percent of the global market which is growing at 30 percent a year, faster than any other form of renewable energy.

BP currently has more than 100 megawatts of solar manufacturing capacity in the US, Spain, India and Australia, with a plan to double its capacity before the end of next year. BP recently signed a strategic joint venture to access China's expanding solar market and provide local manufacturing capacity and is exploring similar opportunities elsewhere in the region.

"As the pricing of carbon develops through trading schemes and other initiatives, the market will grow rapidly as low-emission technologies displace less clean forms of power generation."

Investment projected for wind represents a significant step up in this area of power generation for BP. The company currently runs two wind farms alongside existing oil plants in the Netherlands. It also owns industrial land in open, high-wind regions of the US, away from residential areas, providing the possibility to build the first large-scale US wind farm generating up to 200 megawatts in 2007. The company has identified enough US sites to accommodate wind turbines with a total capacity of 2,000 megawatts.

Projected investment in CCGT will be spent mainly in the US where the company already has significant co-generation capacity and is currently finalizing plans for a new $400 million scheme at one of its major plants that will deliver 100 megawatts of power to the plant, and 420 megawatts to the local electricity grid.

BP's move is at odds with the views of some in the oil industry, including the world's largest private oil and gas firm, Exxon Mobil, which argues renewables are a poor use of investors' funds.

BP Alternative Energy Website

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about more production of biodiesel!

12:13 pm, December 12, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have invented a new wind power generating system. I have learned how to multiply the wind velocity and use it to power wind turbines. Its advantage over horizontal turbines is that it uses the wind power being proportional to the wind velocity cubed. The hydrogen economy is coming!

6:22 am, December 20, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Frank Grassi says big oil is in trouble. Home filled hydrogen powered cars?

Posted by ScuttleMonkey on Wed Oct 19, '05 04:27 PM
from the no-smoking-please dept.
It doesn't come easy writes "Honda unveiled their next generation FCX fuel cell concept car, along with a home hydrogen generation filling station, at the Tokyo Motor Show this week. The car has a range of 350 miles (560 kms) using two separate 350 psi hydrogen storage tanks. The tanks use a newly-developed hydrogen absorption material that doubles their capacity without raising the required storage pressure and thus allows the concept vehicle to exceed the DOE's targeted driving range for hydrogen powered vehicles. The home refueling station uses natural gas to produce electricity, heat and hydrogen. Honda estimates that the HES system [will] lower by 50% the total running cost of household electricity, gas and vehicle fuel. As the FCX is a concept car, no mention of when the technology might be introduced in a real automobile or what it will eventually cost, but the advances demonstrated by the car are quite amazing."

7:14 am, January 04, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Hydrogen House: Fueling a Dream
by Janice Arenofsky

In the northernmost reaches of Scottsdale, Arizona, Bryan Beaulieu, an engineer and inventor with 20 patents in structural systems, recently built a $2 million solar-and-hydrogen-powered “dream” house. Though not the most expensive residence in this affluent community, the 6,000-square-foot luxury home is, by far, the most environmentally sustainable.

Bryan Beaulieu’s home in the Arizona desert is powered by hydrogen-generated electricity.
© Janice Arenofsky
It has “total integral design,” says Bob Ingersoll, executive director of the Hydrogen Energy Center in Portland, Maine. “Beaulieu’s house uses less energy, which means less need to collect it. Nothing is wasted. Each function is taken care of either by design or natural law.”

This is the opposite of a fossil-fuel-dependent lifestyle, says Roy McAlister, president of the American Hydrogen Association in Mesa, Arizona. “And that lifestyle jeopardizes billions of people and creates inflation, pollution and conflict.”

The design of the Beaulieu house is based on a Navajo hogan. It is one of the only hydrogen houses in the world (there’s also one in Malaysia!) and complements the so-called “Angel’s Nest,” Robert Plarr’s solar- and wind-powered home in Taos, New Mexico. The Nest has its own hydrogen filling station, using the high-pressure gas to run his vehicle fleet and provide nighttime power.

Beaulieu’s house is an “educational destination” for homeowners, architects and appliance developers, says McAlister. It demonstrates how hydrogen can be generated using a renewable resource such as solar, says Tai Robinson, president of Intergalactic Hydrogen, a company that modifies vehicles to run on alternative fuels.

“[One reason] hydrogen is valuable is it’s easier to store than batteries or water,” Robinson says. Despite the house’s “mansion”-like appearance and its expensive price tag, Robinson believes the Beaulieu home is a good eco-model of how hydrogen can be used to cook, heat water and fuel a vehicle.

“When it is burned,” Ingersoll says, “it does not leave behind any chemical waste other than clean water.”

Beaulieu’s solar panels convert sunlight into electricity, which runs the electrolyzer—a washing-machine-sized appliance that separates hydrogen from water. The hydrogen is then stored in high-pressure tanks, and a generator turns it into electricity for daily needs.

“The missing link for renewable energy and worldwide prosperity is a consumer-affordable technology,” says McAlister, who has driven a hydrogen-powered automobile since 1974. Most homeowners cannot spend $50,000 on an electrolyzing machine as Beaulieu did. But as demand increases, says Ingersoll, mass-production will decrease the cost. In fact, companies such as Panasonic and Plug Power are hoping, in the next few years, to market a low-cost home fuel-cell generator for converting hydrogen into electricity.

And burning hydrogen for fuel cleans the air of pollens and gases better than forced air systems, says Beaulieu. That environmental plus as well as his wife’s sensitivity to chemicals and dust convinced him to go green. Only low-toxic, solvent-free adhesives and sealants, water-based floor finishes and stained concrete are used in the house.

The architectural design (such as window and wall placements), insulation and vegetation help regulate temperature. A shaded courtyard with waterfalls (which cool the water through evaporation) are surrounded by five hexagonal living pods. Within each pod, ceiling pipes circulate cool water. So do an earth-sheltered roof system and roof ventilators. “The house is really under two-to-three feet of dirt, grapevines and other native succulents,” adds Beaulieu. The plants are irrigated with rain and gray water from the house’s showers.

According to McAlister, Beaulieu’s constantly evolving sustainable solutions should transfer to other communities. “Unlike the ill-fated Biosphere project,” McAlister says, “Beaulieu’s pro-active experiment demonstrates self-sufficiency.”

12:16 pm, January 09, 2006  

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