Exxon Is Trying to Create… Biofuel?

Move over Al Gore. Exxon is trying to get in on the green action.

Exxon believes they can create a good biofuel from algae. Yeah, oil-drooling, environmentally-polluting Exxon. They’ve partnered with Synthetic Genomics to crack the code on producing a viable biofuel that is cheap to produce, effective as a fuel and can easily be produced in massive quantities.

According to Oliver Fetzer, CEO out Synthetic Genomics, “The goal here is to get to a sustainable, renewable biofuel that can be cost-competitive with pumping oil out of the ground, but can scale to levels that go far beyond demonstration levels.”

The reason major companies have put such little effort into biofuels are the issues of cost and scalability. Until now, it was simply not possible to create enough biofuel to meet energy demands at a production cost comparable to oil. And if you’re an oil company, why divert money into less profitable ventures? It’s not like you are driven by a strong environmental conscience. It must be because you know that someday there will be no more oil left to drill. And if/when that sad day comes, Exxon will be ready.

Algae floating on the surface of river.

That’s where advances in algae farming comes in. With some genetic tweaking, scientists working with Exxon have been able to create an algae that produces twice as much fat as it normally would, but still grows at the same efficient speed. The fat, as you can imagine, is the fodder for creating fuel. Suddenly algae-based biofuels just became a whole lot more plausible.

Exxon believes that in 7 years, with some reasonable technological advances, they will be able to produce 10,000 barrels of algae biofuel a day. Of course, the US alone produces 10 million barrels a day, but it’s still a big step for the future of biofuels. The only downside is that we really need more sustainable options now, if not 10 years ago. Exxon certainly seems to have dragged their feet into the clean energy game.

This news brings up an important question: will oil companies be the ones responsible for paving a greener future? Of course, it’s all in the interest in maintaining their gold-lined pockets, but does that matter? Progress is progress, right?

The very fact that Exxon is interested in more sustainable fuel options bears promise that a more sustainable future is coming. But are biofuels the answer? Or do you think other renewables, like solar and wind, are more promising for mass energy production?

What are your thoughts? Share with the community below!        

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60 comments

Marie W
Marie W1 months ago

Thanks.

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W. C
W. C5 months ago

Thanks.

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William C
William C5 months ago

Thank you.

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Just Human
Just Human6 months ago

Exxon employs some brilliant people who see the writing on the wall. Eventually the US government won't be able to deny climate change and Exxon will want a big piece of the renewable energy market.

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Jerome S
Jerome S6 months ago

thanks

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Jerome S
Jerome S6 months ago

thanks

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Jim V
Jim Ven6 months ago

thanks for sharing

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Jim V
Jim Ven6 months ago

thanks for sharing

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Jerome S
Jerome S7 months ago

thanks

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Jerome S
Jerome S7 months ago

thanks

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