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ABF have announced a tie-up with BP to produce biobutanol. RNS:



Associated British Foods plc ("ABF"), the international food, ingredients and retail group has today announced a collaboration with BP and DuPont to begin production of the next generation of biofuels in the UK. This announcement coincides with BP and DuPont announcing a worldwide partnership to develop advanced biofuels and signals ABF's intention to be at the forefront of UK biofuels development. Production is expected to start in 2007.


Under the agreement, British Sugar's Wissington bioethanol plant, currently under construction in Norfolk, will be converted to the production of biobutanol. The plant will use locally grown sugar beet as the feedstock and the biobutanol will be blended with petrol in the UK.


ABF, BP and DuPont have also agreed to undertake a joint feasibility study which, subject to a successful conclusion, could lead to them cooperating in the construction of much larger facilities for biofuels production using cereals.


Biobutanol will provide environmental benefits over purely mineral oil-derived transportation fuels. It will reduce overall emissions of greenhouse gases and is a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels.


Biobutanol can easily be blended with conventional grades of petrol and can already be used at up to a 10% blend without any modification required to existing vehicle technology. There is potential to increase this concentration in the future. It has an energy content closer to that of petrol than ethanol and so offers better fuel economy than petrol/ethanol blends. Furthermore, it can be easily blended into conventional grades of petrol and has the potential to be incorporated into the existing UK fuel supply infrastructure.


"The agreement with British Sugar to start production of biobutanol at their Wissington plant has enabled us to accelerate its introduction into the UK market," says John Manzoni, Chief Executive of BP's refining and marketing division. "We look forward to making the first supplies of this new biofuel available to our customers next year."


"The conversion of the Wissington plant to produce biobutanol gives us an excellent opportunity to showcase this new biofuel. With its superior properties, biobutanol can rapidly increase the market penetration of biofuels," said Tom Connelly, Executive Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer for DuPont.


George Weston, Chief Executive of Associated British Foods, said,


"Our collaboration with BP and DuPont will enable UK agriculture to be at the forefront of the development of biofuel technology and will enable biofuels to become a major part of the requirement for transportation fuels in the UK."

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They are getting into this because there is money in it, not because it offers any hope to escape the problem of the decline in fossil fuels after the oil peak. It has been shown again and again that crops can't provide more than a tiny fraction of the energy from oil wells. Crops feeding vehicles are not feeding humans.


I further suspect that if you inspected this in detail, and swept away distortions due to subsidies, that the energy from the beet is probably not much greater than the energy that went into growing the beet.

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