Earlier this summer, Exxon Mobil announced that it plans to produce algae-based biofuels in partnership with Synthetic Genomics, a biotechnology company founded by human genome pioneer Dr. J. Craig Venter. Yet even with its US $600 million investment, Exxon representatives have said that large-scale production of algal biofuels is still "5-10 years away." Indeed, there are many pros and cons to using algae as a biofuel feedstock, as well as hurdles to its commercialization.

"Generally, only a portion of the crude algal oil is suitable for making biodiesel, but all of it can be used to make gasoline and jet fuel." --Dr. Yusuf Chisti, Professor of Biochemical Engineering, Massey University