• 4 minutes China 2019 - Orwell was 35 years out
  • 7 minutes Wonders of US Shale: US Shale Benefits: The U.S. leads global petroleum and natural gas production with record growth in 2018
  • 11 minutes Trump will capitulate on the trade war
  • 14 minutes Glory to Hong Kong
  • 39 mins China's Blueprint For Global Power
  • 3 hours Boring! See Ya Clowns, And Have Fun In Germany
  • 8 mins Bloomberg: shale slowing. Third wave of shale coming.
  • 27 mins ABC of Brexit, economy wise, where to find sites, links to articles ?
  • 8 hours Crazy Stories From Round The World
  • 2 hours Yesterday Angela Merkel stopped Trump technology war on China – the moral of the story is do not eavesdrop on ladies with high ethical standards
  • 3 hours 5 Tweets That Change The World?
  • 6 hours the future
  • 2 hours USA Carried Out Secret Cyber Strike On Iran In Wake Of Saudi Oil Attack
  • 8 hours Climate Protesters Blocking Roads etc...
  • 2 hours Spain Is On The Edge...Clashes Between Catalonia And "Madrid"
  • 3 hours Leftists crying to make oil patch illegal friendly: 'Broken system' starves U.S. oil boom of immigrant workers: CONGRESS DO YOUR JOBS INSTEAD OF PANDERING!
Alt Text

U.S. Biofuel Just Got A Major Bump

The European Commission just opened…

Alt Text

Ex-Trump Advisor Wins Big On EPA Biofuel Tweaks

Billionaire and ex-Trump advisor Carl…

Alt Text

Trump’s Big Biofuel Package Has No Teeth

The Trump administration has just…

Jen Alic

Jen Alic

 

More Info

Premium Content

Exxon’s $100m Algae Investment Falls Flat

Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) is cutting its losses on algae biofuels after investing over $100 million only to find that it couldn’t achieve commercial viability.

Earlier this week, Exxon announced that while it wasn’t throwing in the towel, it would be forced to restructure its algae research with partner California-based Synthetic Genomics Inc (SGI).

When the two launched their algae-derived biofuels program in 2009, Exxon planned to invest around $600 million with the goal of developing algae fuels within 10 years.

Related article: Investment Boost for Next Generation Biodiesel Project

But it’s been more complicated than expected, and after $100 million down the drain, it has become clear that much more research—and at least another decade and half—are needed.

Exxon spokesman Charles Englemann told Bloomberg that the partners had “gained significant understanding of the challenges that must be overcome to deliver scalable algae-based biofuels.”

What they were hoping to achieve on a commercially viable scale was the exploitation of algae as a source of oil that could be converted in existing refineries into transportation fuels. 

According to Synthetic Genomics’ Chief Technology Officer James Flatt, the research has demonstrated that simple modifications of natural algae are not sufficient for commercial scale production. Research will now be shifted to focus on developing new strains of algae that can reproduce quicker. Or simply put, they will need to change the metabolism of algae. 

Related article: Waste Wood: Norway Taps into a Huge Source of Biomass Fuel

For SGI, it means a new agreement that allows it to get rid of the market pressure and focus on real research, getting back to the basic science. Exxon and SGI announced a new co-funding agreement that will bring their relationship into the above-mentioned phase II.

What does it mean for algae? It’s still growing on everyone, but there’s no commercial quick fix.

By. Jen Alic of Oilprice.com




Download The Free Oilprice App Today

Back to homepage



Leave a comment
  • anonymous on May 29 2013 said:
    "the research has demonstrated that simple modifications of natural algae are not sufficient for commercial scale production"

    Incorrect!!! There is plenty of existing algae strains that already have 30-60% oil content that are not genetically modified.

    All algae ponds have daily contamination issues and very low production. The EPA will never allow genetically modified algae grow in open ponds. It must be grown in large enclosed growing systems that can do 10x the production.

    In order to be profitable at commercial algae production you must need a minimum of 110 acres of "enclosed growing systems", not open ponds. Ponds have been used for research. Not commercial algae production.

    It was a flawed plan from the start using open ponds. Maybe Exxxon did not realize that the DOE Biomass Program's Acquatic Species Program years ago was a complete failure. Open ponds will never be used for commercial algae production.
  • eddie willers on May 31 2013 said:
    LOL....anonymous knows more that EXXON.
  • anonymous on May 31 2013 said:
    With all do respect, you can purchase existing algae strains with 30-60% lipid content (off-the-shelf) from some labs.

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News
Download on the App Store Get it on Google Play