July 29, 2009

Exxon Embracing Algae Biofuels

Exxon Mobil has announced that they're jumping into the biofuel business. The oil giant is investing $600 million in researching algae-based biofuels that would capture CO2 and perform as well as oil-based fuels.

The company is teaming up with Synthetic Genomics Inc. to genetically engineer algae strains for testing. If the partners are successful in developing a greenhouse gas-capturing fuel, Exxon will then invest billions on the production of the fuel.

The company envisions placing the algae farms near power plants and other major CO2 emitters to feed the algae and to help curb the impact of those businesses. Exxon said they imagine a successful commercial production of an algae-based fuel could take up to a decade.

This venture isn't the company's first foray into carbon capture. In January, they announced they were spending $170 million on carbon capture projects at their natural gas plants. These projects are undoubtedly more financially driven than environmentally, but if the planet can benefit from their discoveries, it's worth paying attention.

via Wall Street Journal

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I just saw that J.B. Hunt Transportation is already running trucks on algae oil blends with an 82% reduction in particulates. If Exxon takes 10 years in R&D it looks like they will be a bit late to the race.