ExxonMobil, Synthetic Genomics extend algae biofuels research agreement

ExxonMobil, Synthetic Genomics extend algae biofuels research agreement

9:58 AM, 19th January 2017
ExxonMobil and Synthetic Genomics logo

LA JOLLA, US: ExxonMobil Corporation and Synthetic Genomics Inc have extended their agreement to conduct joint research into advanced algae biofuels, after making significant progress in understanding algae genetics, growth characteristics and increasing oil production.

Synthetic Genomics is a private company located in La Jolla, California that is focused on the field of synthetic biology.

The companies have been jointly researching and developing oil from algae for use as a renewable, lower-emission alternative to traditional transportation fuels since launching the program in 2009. Work continues toward developing strains of algae that demonstrate significantly improved photosynthetic efficiency and oil production through selection and genetic engineering of higher-performance algae strains.

The contract continues to focus on Synthetic Genomics’ core strengths in synthetic biology and builds on recent discoveries of biological pathways regulating lipid production and growth in advanced algal strains.

The development of algae biofuels and a path toward commercial-scale production remain key components of ExxonMobil’s suite of research projects focused on producing energy to meet global demand while reducing greenhouse gas emissions to mitigate the risk of climate change.

ExxonMobil is engaged in a broad range of research on advanced biofuels, partnering with universities and other companies. The purpose of these research and development programs is to explore new technologies and seek the best pathways toward the scalable and cost-effective production of advanced biofuels.

“Together, we have made significant strides to identify and enhance algal strains capable of high oil production while still maintaining desirable rates of growth. This extension reflects the tremendous progress made to date, and the promise in using our core synthetic biology technologies to build cell production systems capable of reshaping industries,” said Oliver Fetzer, PhD, CEO of Synthetic Genomics.

“The renewal of the agreement highlights the importance of the research and recognition of milestones the team has achieved together over the past few years. Both companies remain committed to advancing the scientific fundamentals of algal biofuels. We know this will be a long-term endeavour and are optimistic based on the results we have seen to date,” added Vijay Swarup, vice president for R&D at ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company.

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