Viridos and ExxonMobil Go All In on Algae Fuel

Viridos is concentrating their algal genomics expertise on decarbonizing heavy transportation.

Viridos Inc., previously Synthetic Genomics, a privately held biotechnology company, has signed a joint development agreement with ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company to bring Viridos’ low-carbon intensity biofuels toward commercial levels.

“We’re excited to announce that ExxonMobil is continuing this collaboration with us,” said Viridos’ CEO, Dr. Oliver Fetzer. The recent productivity advances in Viridos’ technology are an opportunity to turn CO2 into renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuels, providing an essential component for the decarbonization of the heavy-duty transportation industry.

Founded in 2005 by leaders in synthetic biology, Viridos quickly established itself as a powerhouse for advanced research, synthesizing the first bacterial genome and creating the first synthetic cell. In the past few years Viridos’ engineered microalgae have achieved greater than 5x bio-oil productivity by increasing both the oil content in the algae and the algae yield.

Viridos’ continued partnership with ExxonMobil seeks to build out the technology and agronomy to enable the commercial launch of the low-carbon intensity algae biofuels. In addition to their use in facilitating significant reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the heavy transportation sector, the algae biofuels could be used for aviation, commercial trucking, and maritime shipping.

Sharing the technology

The terms of the renewed partnership should enable other interested parties to access and advance the technology which would accelerate the deployment of the technology. “In this next phase of the program, we intend to broaden participation and invite others to build the ecosystem required for full-scale deployment,” said Dr. Fetzer.

ExxonMobil has supported Viridos in the development of bioengineering tools, and we look forward to further advancements in the research that shows potential to help society mitigate the risks of climate change,” said Vijay Swarup, vice president of Research and Development at ExxonMobil.

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