ExxonMobil, Renewable Energy Group to Research Biodiesel From Cellulosic Sugars

Companies to explore potential to produce alternative fuels using microbial fermentation

CLINTON, N.J. & AMES, Iowa--(BUSINESS WIRE)--ExxonMobil, a global leader in advanced biofuels research, announced an agreement with Renewable Energy Group, Inc. (REG) 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.

"This research is just one way ExxonMobil is working to identify potential breakthrough technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase energy supplies and realize other environmental benefits," said Vijay Swarup, vice president of research and development at ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company. "The science is extremely complex, but we hope to identify new affordable and reliable supplies of energy for the world that do not have a major impact on food supplies."

"REG has a long history of innovation in the production of advanced biofuels from lower carbon, waste feedstocks," said Eric Bowen, REG Vice President and head of REG Life Sciences. "We look forward to this collaboration with ExxonMobil to advance our proprietary cellulosic sugar fermentation technology and capitalize on the combined power of cellulosic sugars and microbial fermentation to revolutionize the production of ultra-low carbon, cleaner burning advanced biofuels."

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," Swarup said. "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."

"REG is consistently exploring promising lower cost, lower carbon feedstocks," Bowen said. "The research we are conducting with ExxonMobil in this program supports our entire Life Sciences product offering, creating the opportunity for lower cost production of lower carbon specialty chemicals, fuels and other products."

About Renewable Energy Group

Renewable Energy Group, Inc. is a leading North American biofuels producer and developer of renewable chemicals. REG utilizes a nationwide production, distribution and logistics system as part of an integrated value chain model to focus on converting natural fats, oils and greases into advanced biofuels and converting diverse feedstocks into renewable chemicals. With 11 active biorefineries across the country, research and development capabilities and a diverse and growing intellectual property portfolio, REG is committed to being a long-term leader in bio-based fuels and chemicals.

About ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company

ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company scientists, chemists and engineers are pursuing energy innovations to help improve the quality of life and drive economic growth and advancement throughout the world. In addition to its day-to-day research and development efforts, ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company is also home to ExxonMobil's corporate strategic research team that is focused on long-term technical leadership and creating strategic science-based opportunities. The company licenses technologies that provide significant value while improving safety, reliability and energy efficiency. For more information, visit: www.exxonmobil.com.

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