Synthetic Genomics and EMRE to Develop Biofuels

US firm Synthetic Genomics (SGI) has signed a multi-year research and development agreement with ExxonMobil Research and Engineering (EMRE) to develop biofuel products.

Under the agreement, SGI will receive more than $300m from EMRE to develop biofuel products using photosynthetic algae, according to SGI.

SGI will use its proprietary technologies in genomics, metagenomics, synthetic genomics and genome engineering as a platform, to produce sufficient quantities of biofuels from photosynthetic algae.

As part of the deal, SGI will adopt a systematic approach to find, optimise and engineer superior strains of algae, the company said.

SGI said it will also take the systematic approach to define and develop the best systems for large-scale cultivation of algae and conversion of products into useful biofuels.

Photosynthetic algae, including microalgae and cyanobacteria, utilises the energy from sunlight to convert carbon dioxide into cellular oils (lipids).

Photosynthetic algae also uses this technique to produce some types of long-chain hydrocarbons that can be further processed into fuels and chemicals.