One of the most exciting announcements back in the Summer of 2009 for the biofuel folks, was the much-discussed potentially $600 million deal between upstart startup Synthetic Genomics, led by genome guru Craig Venter, and oil giant Exxon to make algae fuel at commercial scale. While that partnership seemed to strain a bit in late 2011, I’ve never been quite clear on what actually happened to the plans.
But in a detailed Bloomberg article on Chevron’s move away from biofuels, Venter and Synthetic Genomics have finally confirmed that the Exxon-funded research didn’t produce the desired results and was subsequently down graded. The article says that in late 2011 an algae strain that proved promising in the testing greenhouse, didn’t hit its performance milestones in an Exxon pond in Texas.
As a result, Bloomberg says that Exxon changed the contract to focus on long term research instead of commercial…
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