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BP Commits $100m to Fund Materials Research Center

BP has pledged $100 million to establish an international research center aimed at developing advanced materials and coatings that can be used in oil and gas exploration and production as well as in the biofuels industry.

The BP International Centre for Advanced Materials, or BP-ICAM, will focus on research in seven areas of direct interest to industry: structural materials, smart coatings, functional materials, catalysis, membranes, energy storage and energy harvesting.

The center will initially steer research in three areas:

  • Structural materials, such as new metal alloys and composites for deepwater production and high pressure/high temperature reservoirs;
  • Smart coatings for increased protection from the elements and improving a structure’s useable life, protecting pipelines and offshore platforms from corrosion
  • Membranes used for the separation, filtration and purification of oil and gas, water and chemicals during the production, refining, petrochemicals and biofuels processes.

The 10-year program will be primarily housed at the University of Manchester in the UK with smaller branches of supportive research extending to other academic institutions, including Imperial College London, the University of Cambridge and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

BP already has partnerships with all of these universities. The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is one of three partners in the BP Energy Biosciences Institute, a 10-year $500 million program launched in 2007 that aims to support BP’s biofuels business.

BP-ICAM is expected to support more than 200 science jobs, including 25 academic posts, 100 post-graduate researchers and 80 post-doctoral fellows.

Earlier this week, in its second quarter 2012 earnings report, BP booked a $845 million contingent liability for conservative estimates of penalties from Clean Water Act violations related to the Deepwater Horizon spill. BP also will pay $1.25 billion in the third quarter and $860 million in the fourth quarter to fund the $20 billion Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Trust.

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