Exxon to spend $1Bn a year to research green energy
ExxonMobil, one of the largest oil businesses has announced it will invest over $1 billion annually into alternative energy technology. Exxon will use this money specifically to look at generating biofuels from algae and converting emissions into electricity.
This move by Exxon emphasises the company recognition of the transition away from reliance on fossil fuels and towards alternative energy sources. Exxon is keen to show its commitment towards generating expertise, research, and development within new technology.
Exxon is one of an emerging list of major oil and gas companies interested in investing more into renewable energy. Companies, such as Total SA have made recent acquisitions into the renewables sector. Shell is incorporating wind farms into the offshore rigs in the North Sea.
Exxon however believe they are taking a different approach to the development of renewables. Exxon is focusing more specifically on investing in research and has connected with nearly 100 universities and a series of smaller research companies.
Research projects will include the following:
Algae Biofuels - Harvesting algae from the ocean and ponds and convert this into a biofuel with a long-term plan to create a 100% algae-derived fuel.
Biodiesel - Generating biodiesel from agricultural waste. Exxon is currently working with Renewable Energy Group to convert inedible residues from crops into biofuels.
Carbonate Fuel Cells - Exxon and FuelCell Energy are researching how technology can be used in carbon capturing and storage and generate energy simultaneously.
Process Intensification - In collaboration with Georgia Institute of Technology, Exxon is researching a more efficient way of refining crude oil into plastic. Through this efficient process, Exxon intends to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 50%.
Deploying algae biofuels and carbonate fuel cells at a larger scale is still some years away. Current research is exploring how projects can be developed and scaled to the global reach within Exxon. Exxon operates across six continents and revenues were close to $200 billion in 2016.
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