Multinational oil and gas firm ExxonMobil has teamed up with privately-held biotechnology firm Viridos – previously known as Synthetic Genomics – to produce biofuel from algae, Viridos announced on 19 November.

The two companies signed a joint agreement for the commercial production of Viridos’ low-carbon intensity biofuels, Viridos said.

“In this next phase of the programme, we intend to broaden participation and invite others to build the ecosystem required for full-scale deployment,” Viridos’ CEO Dr Oliver Fetzer.

In addition to their use in heavy transport, the algae biofuels could be used for aviation, commercial trucking and maritime shipping, the company said.

The terms of the renewed partnership with ExxonMobil should also allow other interested parties access to Viridos’ technology, Viridos said.

“Our research with Viridos is one facet of our approach to help society identify and deploy the biofuels needed to reduce emissions from important sectors of the economy, including heavy duty transportation,” ExxonMobil vice president of Research and Development Vijay Swarup said.

These advanced biofuels offered the possibility of achieving significant greenhouse gas reductions (GHGs) compared to current transportation fuels, according to the ExxonMobil website, and could also minimise impacts on land, fresh water and food supplies compared with traditional biofuels such as corn or sugar.