Baseload, Bioenergy

ExxonMobil Extends Research Agreement for Advanced Algae Biofuels

ExxonMobil will continue its ongoing research into advanced algae biofuels through an agreement with California-based Synthetic Genomics Inc.

The companies have been researching and developing oil from algae for use as a lower-emission alternative to traditional transportation fuels since 2009.

“Together with ExxonMobil, we have made significant strides to identify and enhance algal strains capable of high oil production while still maintaining desirable rates of growth,” Synthetic Genomics CEO Oliver Fetzer said in a Jan. 18 statement. “The extension of our agreement reflects the tremendous progress made to date, and the promise in using our core synthetic biology technologies to build cell production systems capable of reshaping industries.”

Global demand for transportation fuels is projected to rise by nearly 30 percent through 2040, and accelerating the reduction in emissions from the transportation sector will play an important role in reducing global greenhouse gas emissions.

According to the companies, the research will continue toward developing strains of algae that demonstrate significantly improved photosynthetic efficiency and oil production through selection and genetic engineering of higher-performance algae strains. The agreement builds on recent discoveries of biological pathways regulating lipid production and growth in advanced algal strains.

Lead image credit: IAEA Imagebank | Flickr