ExxonMobil and the Renewable Energy Group (REG) are working together to increase biodiesel production from non-food sources.

Using patented REG tech, the pair have shown this week that biodiesel can be produced by converting sugars from a variety of ‘non-edible biomass sources’.

“Biofuels today are made largely from food sources, such as corn and sugar cane,” explained Vijay Swarup, vice president of research and development at ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company. “ExxonMobil is challenging that paradigm by exploring a portfolio of large-scale biofuels solutions that do not compete with food and water. Our work with REG Life Sciences has been critical to better understanding the potential for converting cellulosic feedstock from agricultural waste into a commercially viable diesel fuel, as well as the lifecycle greenhouse gas implications of that process.”

ExxonMobil is involved in a number of initiatives in this area. Innovators Magazine reported earlier this summer the company’s role in what was labelled a ‘Eureka Moment’ for the biofuel industry; as its collaboration with Synthetic Genomics (SGI) moved the possibility of producing algae biofuels on an industrial scale a step closer.