ExxonMobil eyes algae as future biofuel producer

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IRVING, Texas — Exxon Mobil Corporation is joining hands with Synthetic Genomics to research and develop next generation biofuels from photosynthetic algae.

“We believe that biofuel produced by algae could be a meaningful part of the solution in the future if our efforts result in an economically viable, low net carbon emission transportation fuel,” said Emil Jacobs, ExxonMobil’s vice president of research and development.

ExxonMobil has entered into a research and development alliance with SGI, a privately held company, to develop advanced biofuels from photosynthetic algae.

If research and development milestones are met, ExxonMobil expects to spend more than $600 million, which includes $300 million in internal costs and potentially more than $300 million to SGI.

Eye on future. ExxonMobil has invested more than $1.5 billion over the past five years on technologies to improve automobile efficiency, such as tire liners that keep tires inflated longer, advanced fuel-economy engine oil, and light-weight automobile plastics.

The company has also developed an improved lithium battery separator film for hybrid electric cars, and sponsors breakthrough research into ways to improve solar energy, biofuels and carbon capture and storage.

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