Viridos and ExxonMobil agree to scale algae biofuels
In the United States (US), biotechnology company Viridos Inc., previously Synthetic Genomics, has announced that it has signed a joint agreement with ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company (ExxonMobil) with the intent to bring Viridos’ low-carbon intensity algae biofuels toward commercial levels.
Founded in 2005 as Synthetic Genomics, Viridos has established itself as a powerhouse for innovative research, transplanting the first genome, synthesizing the first bacterial genome, and creating the first synthetic cell.
Since 2009, the company has partnered with ExxonMobil in researching and developing oil from algae to be used as a renewable, lower-emission alternative to traditional transportation fuels.
We’re excited to announce that ExxonMobil is continuing this collaboration with us to bring sustainable algae biofuels technology closer to commercial deployment. The recent productivity advances in Viridos’ technology are an opportunity to turn CO2 into renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuels, providing an essential component for the decarbonization of the heavy-duty transportation industry. In this next phase of the program, we intend to broaden participation and invite others to build the ecosystem required for full-scale deployment, said Dr Oliver Fetzer, CEO at Viridos.
In the past few years, Viridos’ engineering microalgae has achieved greater than 5x bio-oil productivity increases by increasing both the oil content in the algae and the algae yield. The results from outdoor deployment of Viridos’ bio-engineered strains in 2020 and 2021 mark the inflection point toward deployment.
These advancements in bioengineering have positioned Viridos to be the leading enterprise in algal technology with the potential to facilitate significant reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the heavy transportation sector.
Focused on commercial algae biofuels
Viridos’ continued partnership with ExxonMobil seeks to build out the technology and agronomy to enable the commercial launch of Viridos’ low-carbon intensity algae biofuels. In addition to their use in heavy transport, the algae biofuels could be used for aviation, commercial trucking, and maritime shipping.
The terms of the renewed partnership with ExxonMobil should enable other interested parties to access and advance the technology to accelerate the deployment of Viridos’ patented technology in pursuit of lowering global GHG emissions.
Our research with Viridos is one facet of our approach to helping society identify and deploy the biofuels needed to reduce emissions from important sectors of the economy, including heavy-duty transportation. ExxonMobil has supported Viridos in the development of advanced bioengineering tools, and we look forward to further advancements in the research that shows potential to help society mitigate the risks of climate change, said Dr Vijay Swarup, VP of Research and Development at ExxonMobil.