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BP-MIT partnership to focus on energy conversion technologies

BP becomes inaugural founding member of MIT Energy Initiative
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MIT and BP plc have announced a major research partnership around energy conversion technologies. The program will explore the conversion of low-value carbon feedstocks such as petcoke and coal to high-value products such as electricity, liquid fuels and chemicals while minimizing carbon dioxide emissions.

In establishing this partnership, BP also becomes the inaugural Founding Member of the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI), which was created in 2006 to address global energy issues.

In announcing the partnership, MIT President Susan Hockfield praised the collaboration: "This exciting partnership between MIT and BP epitomizes what the MIT Energy Initiative is designed to accomplish: the pairing of innovative MIT researchers across the entire campus with results-oriented scientists, engineers and planners in industry, working together to transform the world's energy marketplace."

The BP-MITEI collaboration will support a 'flagship' energy research program, the BP-MIT Advanced Conversion Research Project, which includes several interrelated research thrusts:

Advanced simulation of processes for feedstock conversion and decarbonisation;

Multiscale simulation of gasification;

Synthesis gas cleanup and upgrade;

Gasification technology development;

New processes for converting synthesis gas to liquid fuels;

Process integration and design for operability; and

Fuels market and policy analysis.

BP America's Chairman and President, Bob Malone said: "Conversion technologies will play a critical role in regional energy security and will provide access to clean energy sources in both the developed and developing world. The BP-MIT Advanced Conversion Research Project is a natural research extension to our successful executive development programs at MIT."

As the Founding Member, BP will also support MITEI's Energy Research Seed Fund program. This program will fund novel energy research concepts generated from an annual campus-wide solicitation. In addition, BP will support ten "BP-MIT Energy Fellows" at the Institute each year of its five-year commitment.

Professor Ernest J. Moniz, Director of MITEI, also applauded BP's commitment to energy research and education. "This will help transform how the world uses its abundant coal resources and demonstrates a strong commitment to developing the next generation of energy technologists, supporting 50 energy fellowships over the length of the collaboration."

Total funding for the BP Advanced Conversion Research Program and for the associated MITEI commitments will be at least $5M per year for five years.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on September 26, 2007 (download PDF).

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