Cellulosic Feedstocks Could Come from Agricultural Waste
ExxonMobil and Iowa’s Renewable Energy Group said they’ll collaborate on the development of biodiesel made “by fermenting renewable cellulosic sugars from sources such as agricultural waste.”
The agreement is between ExxonMobil Research and Engineering and REG’s Life Sciences subsidiary.
“REG has developed a patented technology that uses microbes to convert sugars to biodiesel in a one-step fermentation process similar to ethanol manufacturing,” states a release. The work with Exxon will focus on sugars from non-food sources.
‘The Science Is Extremely Complex’
“This research is just one way ExxonMobil is working to identify potential breakthrough technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase energy supplies and realize other environmental benefits,” said Exxon R&E research and development VP Vijay Swarup says in the collaboration announcement.
“The science is extremely complex,” Swarup said, “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.”
“REG has a long history of innovation in the production of advanced biofuels from lower carbon, waste feedstocks,” said REG VP and REG Life Sciences head Eric Bowen. The companies aim to “capitalize on the combined power of cellulosic sugars and microbial fermentation to revolutionize the production of ultra-low carbon, cleaner burning advanced biofuels,” he said.
“Our first challenge is to determine technical feasibility and potential environmental benefits during the initial research,” said Exxon’s Swarup. “If the results are positive, we can then take the next step and explore the potential to expand our efforts and explore scalability.”
“REG is consistently exploring promising lower cost, lower carbon feedstocks,” Bowen said. “The research we are conducting with ExxonMobil in this program supports our entire Life Sciences product offering, creating the opportunity for lower cost production of lower carbon specialty chemicals, fuels and other products.”
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Source: REG with Fleets & Fuels follow-up