ExxonMobil Builds Up Biodiesel Research

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ExxonMobil Builds Up Biodiesel Research


IRVING, Texas — Exxon Mobil Corp. has formed an agreement with the Renewable Energy Group (REG) to study the production of biodiesel by fermenting renewable cellulosic sugars from non-food sources such as agricultural waste, according to an Environmental Leader report.

This research is intended to address the challenge of how to ferment real-world renewable cellulosic sugars and will also include the study of impurities that can inhibit fermentation.

REG's patented technology uses microbes to convert sugars to biodiesel in a one-step fermentation process similar to the manufacture of ethanol, according to the company.

This science behind this concept is "extremely complex," but "we hope to identify new affordable and reliable supplies of energy for the world that do not have a major impact on food supplies," said Vijay Swarup, research and engineering vice president of research and development. "As we research renewable energy supplies, we are exploring future energy options with a reduced environmental impact."

The companies' first challenge is to determine technical feasibility and potential environmental benefits during the initial research.

Positive results would prompt them to move forward and potentially expand their efforts, Swarup said.