Editor’s Note: As of September 2021 Synthetic Genomics is now operating under the name Viridos, Inc.

South by Southwest is one of the world’s largest creative gatherings, widely known for its celebration of breakthroughs in technology, film, music, and interactive media. This year’s conference also featured the latest breakthrough in energy: algae.

ExxonMobil researchers and their partners from Synthetic Genomics Inc. converged in Austin earlier this month to present their work on the progress towards cracking the next generation of biofuels. The goal of this research is to produce a clean, scalable fuel that could one day help power the world’s transportation systems.

“There are two parts to innovation; one is collecting dots and one is connecting dots,” said Vijay Swarup, vice president of research and development for ExxonMobil’s Research and Engineering Company, during a conference panel. “We need more dots and we have to connect them in ways that we have never connected them before.”

Beyond its access to Austin’s legendary food truck culture, the conference allows for the connection of ideas that are transferrable across multiple disciplines.

“One of the beauties of coming out and talking about this is we hope people have ideas,” said  Swarup. “We are willing to work with anyone who can help move the science down the field.”

Check out our video here on Vijay’s time at South by Southwest:


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