Biodiesel Research Cooperation Exxon Mobil and Renewable Energy Group Cooperate on Biodiesel
Tomorrow's diesel fuel might be produces using microbial fermentation: Oil multi Exxon Mobil and Renewable Energy Group (REG) plan to coordinate their efforts to research renewable biodiesel production from cellulosic sugars.
Ames, Iowa/USA – Under a new agreement, Exxon Mobil's Research and Engineering Company will work together with REG's Life Sciences subsidiary, focussing on using sugars from non-food sources like agricultural waste. REG has already developed a patented technology that uses microbes to convert sugars to biodiesel in a one-step fermentation process similar to ethanol manufacturing.
“This research is just one way Exxon Mobil is working to identify potential breakthrough technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase energy supplies and realize other environmental benefits,” said Vijay Swarup, vice president of research and development at Exxon's Research and Engineering Company. “The science is extremely complex, but we hope to identify new affordable and reliable supplies of energy for the world that do not have a major impact on food supplies.”
Second Gen-Biodiesel Could Revolutionize the Industry
“REG has a long history of innovation in the production of advanced biofuels from lower carbon, waste feedstocks,” said Eric Bowen, REG Vice President and head of REG Life Sciences. “We look forward to this collaboration with Exxon Mobil to advance our proprietary cellulosic sugar fermentation technology and capitalize on the combined power of cellulosic sugars and microbial fermentation to revolutionize the production of ultra-low carbon, cleaner burning advanced biofuels.”
Through the research, the two companies will be addressing the challenge of how to ferment real-world renewable cellulosic sugars, which contain multiple types of sugars, including glucose and xylose, but also impurities that can inhibit fermentation.
First Challenge: Technological Feasability
“As we research renewable energy supplies, we are exploring future energy options with a reduced environmental impact,” Swarup said. “Our first challenge is to determine technical feasibility and potential environmental benefits during the initial research. If the results are positive, we can then take the next step and explore the potential to expand our efforts and explore scalability.”
“REG is consistently exploring promising lower cost, lower carbon feedstocks,” Bowen said. “The research we are conducting with Exxon Mobil in this program supports our entire Life Sciences product offering, creating the opportunity for lower cost production of lower carbon specialty chemicals, fuels and other products.”