Exxon Mobil and Synthetic Genomics announced a new phase in their joint algae biofuel research program that could lead to the technical ability to produce 10,000 barrels of algae biofuel per day by 2025.
Irving/USA — The new phase of research includes an outdoor field study that will grow naturally occurring algae in several contained ponds in California. According to the companies, the research will enable them to better understand fundamental engineering parameters including viscosity and flow, which cannot easily be replicated in a lab.
Additional work will be required to advance larger-scale production. Both companies are continuing with fundamental research on algae biology in their laboratories as the field study advances. Exxon Mobil anticipates that 10,000 barrels of algae biofuel per day could be produced by 2025 based on research conducted to date and emerging technical capability.
This outdoor research follows the companies’ years of fundamental biological research into understanding and improving algae oil production.
Since 2009, the partners have been partners in researching and developing oil from algae to be used as a renewable, lower-emission alternative to traditional transportation fuels. In 2017, they announced breakthrough research published in Nature Biotechnology that resulted in a modified algae strain that more than doubled oil content without significantly inhibiting growth, a key challenge along the path to commercial scalability.