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ExxonMobil, Renewable Energy Group partner to research production of biodiesel from cellulosic sugars

ExxonMobil and Renewable Energy Group (REG) are partnering to study the production of biodiesel by fermenting renewable cellulosic sugars from sources such as agricultural waste. The agreement is between ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company and REG’s Life Sciences subsidiary. Terms were not disclosed.

REG has developed a patented technology that uses microbes to convert sugars to biodiesel in a one-step fermentation process similar to ethanol manufacturing. The ExxonMobil and REG Life Sciences research will focus on using sugars from non-food sources.

Through the research, the two companies will be addressing the challenge of how to ferment real-world renewable cellulosic sugars, which contain multiple types of sugars, including glucose and xylose, but also impurities that can inhibit fermentation.

As we research renewable energy supplies, we are exploring future energy options with a reduced environmental impact. Our first challenge is to determine technical feasibility and potential environmental benefits during the initial research. If the results are positive, we can then take the next step and explore the potential to expand our efforts and explore scalability.

—Vijay Swarup, vice president of research and development at ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company



I always worry when Exxon gets into a clean energy area. Their history shows they usually use any information gained to suppress the use of clean energy.

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