News of the WeekBIOFUELS

ExxonMobil Fuels Venter's Efforts To Run Vehicles on Algae-Based Oil

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Science  24 Jul 2009:
Vol. 325, Issue 5939, pp. 379
DOI: 10.1126/science.325_379a

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After years of skepticism about the promise of biofuels, ExxonMobil has decided to make one of the biggest biofuel bets so far. Last week, the world's second largest company announced that it will spend up to $600 million over 5 to 6 years to produce biofuels from algae. Half the money will go to Synthetic Genomics Inc., a San Diego, California-based start-up run by genomics pioneer J. Craig Venter. Exxon will spend another $300 million on in-house research including attempts to scale up biofuels production from algae and refine the resulting oils into finished fuels.