The program expects to achieve this aim by 2025
ExxonMobil and Synthetic Genomics Inc. have arrived at a new phase in their joint algae biofuel research program that could possibly lead to the technical ability to create 10,000 barrels of algae biofuel per day by 2025.
An outdoor field study that will grow naturally occurring algae in several contained ponds, includes the new segment of research. ExxonMobil and Synthetic Genomics will be empowered as a result of this research, to better understand fundamental engineering parameters including viscosity and flow, which cannot easily be replicated in a lab, the results of which are important to understand how to scale the technology for potential commercial deployment.
Since additional work will be required to advance larger-scale production, both companies will continue with fundamental research on algae biology in their laboratories as the field study progresses. Based on research conducted to date and emerging technical capability, ExxonMobil anticipates producing 10,000 barrels of algae biofuel per day by 2025.
Vijay Swarup, vice president for research and development at ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company, said “Our work with Synthetic Genomics on algae biofuels continues to be an important part of our broader research into lower-emission technologies to help reduce the risk of climate change. The new outdoor phase is a critical next step in determining a path toward large-scale, commercial production.”
“We are excited to take this next significant step as we journey together toward a renewable, scalable, and low-carbon biofuel. The progress we are making in the lab toward engineering highly efficient algae strains that convert sunlight and CO2 into renewable high energy density biofuel is exciting and warrants continued research about how our technology will scale. Our outdoor algal facility creates a perfect stepping stone from our labs to the greenhouse and to the outdoors to lay the foundation for a large scale commercial deployment of our technology in the future,” said Oliver Fetzer, Ph.D., chief executive officer at Synthetic Genomics.
In partnership with universities, government laboratories, and other companies, ExxonMobil is engaged in a wide range of research on advanced biofuels. Breakthrough research published in Nature Biotechnology that resulted in a modified algae strain, was announced in 2017 by ExxonMobil and Synthetic Genomics that more than doubled oil content without significantly inhibiting growth, a key challenge along the path to commercial scalability. PWKD09032018
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