ExxonMobil and Renewable Energy Group (REG) said Wednesday that they have signed a joint research agreement with Clariant, a Swiss based chemical company, to evaluate the potential use of cellulosic sugars from sources such as agricultural waste and residues to produce biofuel.
According to a joint statement, the new investigational method has the potential to play a role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The new partnership expands a previously announced agreement for joint research between ExxonMobil and REG, North America’s largest producer of advanced biofuel, in which the companies successfully validated the ability of REG Life Sciences bio-conversion technology to convert sugars from cellulosic biomass into biodiesel through a single-step process, the statement said.
ExxonMobil proclaimed that the new agreement with Clariant allows ExxonMobil and REG to further optimize REG’s bio-conversion process using previously tested and benchmarked cellulosic sugars created through Clariant’s 'sunliquid process'.
Clariant is a leading specialty chemicals company, based in Muttenz near Basel, Switzerland. It is offering integrated technologies and solutions for converting agricultural residues such as wheat straw, rice straw, corn stover and sugar cane bagasse.
The companies’ ultimate objective is to combine Clariant’s and REG’s processes into a seamless cellulosic biomass-to-biodiesel technology, the press release said.
“Over the past three years, our work with REG has led to important advances in genetically improving REG’s proprietary microbes for a beneficial use in facilitating the conversion of cellulosic sugars into biodiesel,” The Vice President of Research and Development at ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company, Vijay Swarup was quoted as saying.
“Applying Clariant’s expertise and knowledge will help us better understand and advance a key stage in the overall cellulosic conversion process, and hopefully lead to the development of scalable biodiesel technology,” Swarup added.
By Muhsin Baris Tiryakioglu