US supermajor ExxonMobil has signed a joint development agreement with Viridos, a privately-held biotechnology company, to commercialise its low-carbon biofuels projects.

ExxonMobil and Viridos, previously called Synthetic Genomics, have been working together for over a decade, when ExxonMobil opened a greenhouse facility in La Jolla, California, to test algae as a biofuels feedstock.

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“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,” said Vijay Swarup, vice president of research and development at ExxonMobil.

“ExxonMobil has supported Viridos in the development of advanced bioengineering tools, and we look forward to further advancements in the research that shows potential to help society mitigate the risks of climate change.

Viridos plans for the algae biofuels to be primarily used in heavy transport, but also in aviation, commercial trucking, and maritime shipping, and hopes the renewed partnership enables other parties to access and advance Viridos’ patented technology.

“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,” said Dr. Oliver Fetzer, Viridos’ chief executive.

“In this next phase of the program, we intend to broaden participation and invite others to build the ecosystem required for full-scale deployment.”

Viridos’ advancements in emission-reducing biofuels come after the company has made a name for itself since its founding in 2005 through its research and genomes, specifically with transplanting the first genome, synthesising the first bacterial genome and creating the first synthetic cell.