With oil companies as BP and Shell already well invested in solar, biofuels and wind – BP, for example, just announced it has moved into full construction of a second phase of the Fowler Ridge Wind Farm in Indiana – ExxonMobil’s decision to launch a biofuels program comes as no surprise.
“Meeting the world’s growing energy demand will require a multitude of technologies and energy sources”, said Dr. Emil Jacobs, vice president of research and development at ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company. “We believe that biofuels produced by algae could be a meaningful part of the solution in the future if our efforts result in an economically viable, low net carbon emission transportation fuel”.
In a coalition with leading biotech company Synthetic Genomics Inc. (SGI), Exxon expects to spend more than $600 million in increasing the scale of algae production as well as the manufacturing of finished fuels.
“The real challenge to creating a viable next generation biofuel is the ability to produce it in large volumes which will require significant advances in both science and engineering”, said Dr. J. Craig Venter, CEO of SGI.