by Maithili Joshi
Exxon Mobil has made continuous efforts to look for alternative energy sources in the past few years. Recently, in the last four years, they had invested more than $100 million in developing algae-derived biofuels, and recently have refocused their efforts on researching the production of biodiesel by fermenting renewable cellulosic sugars from sources like agricultural waste. Exxon Mobil has teamed up with Renewable Energy Group (REG) and other universities to find a new source of renewable fuels, focusing on using sugars from non-food sources.
REG has developed a patented technology that uses microbes to convert sugars to biodiesel in a one-step fermentation process that is similar to ethanol manufacturing.
Since most of the research done on cellulosic energy sources has been on ethanol use, the new focus is on how to deal with concentrated sugar sources for very concentrated fermentation.
Biofuel is considered to be very pure, and very easily available resource on the planet. It is both easily renewable source, and also emits less carbon dioxide. Additionally, being able to get cellulosic biodiesel would be considerably more efficient than current biofuels and will emit less carbon dioxide than what is being produced now.