Synthetic Genomics, Inc. and ExxonMobil have worked together to turn algae into a low-emission transportation fuel for a number of years. It’s an ambitious project that’s inspired scientists and engineers in labs coast to coast and triggered important breakthroughs.
The research will now also involve a farm in California. There, over the next couple of years, researchers will farm algae at a much larger scale than the sample-size quantities used in labs so far. The combination of the ongoing work in the lab and upcoming studies in the field together could lead to the technical ability to produce 10,000 barrels of algae biofuel per day by 2025. On the farm, researchers will work on understanding fundamental engineering parameters, including viscosity and flow, which cannot be easily replicated in the lab. This work will lead to understanding on how to scale the technology.
The goal for the future is to create a viable resource that could one day help meet the world’s energy needs.