Exxon Mobil Corp has announced it is restructuring its algae research with partner California-based Synthetic Genomics Inc, which after an investment of more than USD 100 million, is an indication that it has become discouraged by the short-term prospects for the endeavor.
When it entered the algae-based bio-fuel field four years ago, the global energy conglomerate said it would spend as much as USD 600 million to develop a scalable line of bio-fuels by the end of this decade.
Now, according to a report in Bloomberg, the company believes there are still significant challenges that must be overcome before it can bring algae-based bio-fuels to market.
Initially, Synthetic Genomics’ research focused on making modifications to living algae to produce a basic fuel. The process works, but not fast enough to satisfy a huge, and energy hungry, driving public.
Exxon Mobile indicated researchers will now focus on developing new strains of algae that reproduce at a faster rate, and thereby step up the pace of production.
In announcing the change of direction, Exxon Mobile and Synthetic Genomics announced a new co-funding agreement to support the new research.
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