Hummingbird® propels biofuel technology into the 21st century (Day 272)

hummingbirdMany people share my passion for a world of cleaner transport. So I am excited by the amount of progress that has been made towards lower-emission fuels, especially in the domain of biofuels – fuels made from plants, other vegetable- and animal-derived materials.

In fact, the International Energy Agency‘s (IEA) technology roadmap for biofuels in transport suggests that, by 2050, biofuels could provide over a quarter of the world’s total transport fuel, and avoid around 2 gigatonnes of CO2 emissions per year.

Perhaps less obvious is the spread of bioplastics – plastics made from vegetable fats and oils, corn starch and other biomass sources – in the form of food and other packaging, crockery, cutlery, straws and more.

Bioplastics have non-disposable uses such as mobile phone casings, car interiors, and even medical devices. This is a fast growing market; I recently read a forecast predicting a doubling in biodegradable plastics alone from around UK£3.6 billion in 2015 to UK£8.2 billion in 2025.

BP logo - BP Hummingbird...For me, the IChemE global award-winning BP Hummingbird® project to develop a catalyst and process for converting bio-ethanol to ethylene is an excellent example of the ground-breaking chemical engineering that is bringing this cleaner, more cost-effective technology ever closer.

Continue reading Hummingbird® propels biofuel technology into the 21st century (Day 272)

Who’d want to be an economist! (Day 225)

Economic dataAt the start of 2014, who would have predicted that oil prices would end up in the doldrums by the end of the year, especially with a slightly more positive economic outlook?

Some of the world’s oil prices are the lowest for over five years with Brent crude oil wallowing below $55 per barrel.

The IEA recently cut the outlook for 2015 global oil demand growth by 230,000 barrels per day to 0.9 million barrels per day on lower expectations for the former Soviet Union and other oil‐exporting countries.

Good luck to those charged with the onerous task of understanding and explaining issues such as the macroeconomics of crude oil.

Continue reading Who’d want to be an economist! (Day 225)