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ExxonMobil, the world’s biggest public oil company that has come under fire for concealing its knowledge about the effects of the oil industry on climate change, is spending US$1 billion every year to research renewable energy.
Speaking with Bloomberg, the company’s Vice President of Research and Development, Vijay Swarup, said that Exxon is investing in over a hundred projects in up to 10 key research areas.
“These areas are massively challenging, and if we can solve those, they will have huge impacts on our business. We bring more than money. We bring the science, the commitment to research,” Swarup said.
This interview is the first time anyone gets a look at exactly how much Exxon is allocating for renewable energy research as the company has been relatively private about these pursuits, without getting outright secretive.
Earlier this year, for example, Exxon released a report about a breakthrough in algae research, which has boosted the viability of algae as an alternative source of energy. The company is also investing in other biofuels, such as from agricultural waste, and projects seeking to turn emissions into electricity.
Exxon has partnered with other businesses as well as academic institutions to advance these projects but is at least 10 years away from the commercialization of any technology it develops as part of these partnerships.
Related: BP Boosts The Bullish Case For Oil
It’s clear that Big Oil can no longer ignore renewable energy and electric vehicles, which is why it’s jumping on board with them.
Shell recently announced it will be spending about a billion dollars a year on renewable projects, in addition to buying Europe’s largest EV charging station network. The Anglo-Dutch titan is also building wind turbines.
Total, the French major, is growing into renewables through acquisitions: it last bought a solar power company and a battery maker.
BP is focusing on wind power and biofuels, boasting one of the top spots among wind energy producers in the United States.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.