Exxon Invests $600M in Biofuel From Algae

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On June 21, Exxon announced its plan to invest $600 million into the biofuel industry. In partnership with Synthetic Genomics, the oil giant will experiment with producing liquid transportation fuels from photosynthetic algae.

According to Dr. Emil Jacobs, vice president of research and development for ExxonMobil, this investment comes after several years of planning. He also touts the efforts as “breakthrough technologies” that will help “meet the world’s energy challenges.”

ExxonMobil expects to spend more than $600 million, which includes $300 million in internal costs and potentially more than $300 million to SGI. Photo: Drmozeley.com

ExxonMobil expects to spend more than $600 million, which includes $300 million in internal costs and potentially more than $300 million to SGI. Photo: Drmozeley.com

Environmental groups have criticized Exxon for ignoring concerns about global warming, and this investment in biofuels could be a more eco-friendly step forward for the company.

According to Exxon, it is possible that algae could yield more than 2,000 gallons of fuel per acre of production each year.

But it’s going to take a lot of work.

“While significant work and years of research and development still must be completed, if successful, algae-based fuels could help meet the world’s growing demand for transportation fuel while reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” says Michael Dolan, senior vice president of ExxonMobil.

“Our new algae biofuels program complements ExxonMobil’s ongoing efforts to reduce emissions in our operations and by consumers of our products, through both efficiency improvements and technology breakthroughs.”

Using algae as an alternative fuel source isn’t new to the industry. The U.S. Department of Energy studied this process for about 18 years, from 1978 to 1996, but the feds decided that algae oil could never compete economically with fossil fuels.

That was before the price of oil skyrocketed. Now, with abundant resources of the material and its compatibility with existing transportation technology and infrastructure, the process is now more economical.

According to ScienceDaily, another benefit of creating algae biodiesel is that there is no wastewater produced to cause pollution. Furthermore, there is a limitless amount of algae growing in oceans, lake and rivers around the world.

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  1. Pingback: “Synthetic Genomics to Build Algae Biofuels Facility in San Diego” and related posts | Results videos photos news blogs At I google wiki . com

  2. Even though algae oil might not be the final answer, it could definitely serve as a substitution for fossil fuels until we narrow in on what the most economical fuel of the future will be. There are many different sustainable fuels available, such as waste vegetable oil, which are being used by some individuals right now. Check out these college students who converted a coach bus to run on waste veggie oil: http://changents.com/biggreenbus

  3. Thank goodness…..Finally some progress is being made AWAY from fossil fuels !
    I’m thrilled they are working on this, and Exxon has the money to do it right.
    Great news !

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