ExxonMobil advances in algae

I just wanted to assure those concerned that I am still working on several interviews (and post-interviews) from the BIO industrial biotechnology conference.

Back to the biofuels news, ExxonMobil announced last week that they are entering the next phase of their algae program with Synthetic Genomics Inc. (SGI) with the opening of a new greenhouse facility at the SGI headquarters in La Jolla, Calif.

SGI and ExxonMobil are using the facility to test whether large-scale quantities of affordable fuel can be produced from algae. It gives researchers more realistic conditions for algae production, compared to an indoor lab.

The companies expect to open an outdoor test facility in mid-2011.

After that, ExxonMobil expects to spend more than $600 million on the algae biofuels program over the next decade, $300 million of which will be allocated to SGI.

10 years is a bit of a long time and things/perception changes quickly. I hope the companies can scale up in commercial production sooner than that before enthusiasm for algae becomes moldy (haha!).

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