Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) and the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) announced that they have entered into a collaborative research and development agreement to study and advance technology to produce liquid transportation fuels using algae.
Chevron and NREL scientists will collaborate to identify and develop algae strains that can be economically harvested and processed into finished transportation fuels such as jet fuel. Chevron Technology Ventures, a division of Chevron U.S.A. Inc., will fund the initiative.
The research project announced today is the second under a five-year strategic biofuels research alliance between Chevron and NREL announced in October 2006. The first involves bio-oil reforming, a process by which bio-oils derived from the decomposition of biological feedstocks are then converted into hydrogen and biofuels.
“We are extremely pleased to join Chevron in this path-breaking research,” said NREL Director Dan Arvizu. “NREL operated the Aquatic Species Program for the Department of Energy for nearly 20 years, giving us unique insights into the research required to produce cost-effective fuels from algal oils or lipids. Our scientists have the advanced tools and the experience to rapidly increase the yield and productivity of key species of algae. In Chevron we have found an ideal research partner with the skills and knowledge to transform these algal lipids to cost-competitive fuels and to distribute those fuels to consumers.”
“Biofuels will play an increasingly important role in diversifying energy supplies to meet the world’s growing energy needs. Chevron believes that nonfood feedstock sources such as algae and cellulose hold the greatest promise to grow the biofuels industry to large scale,” said Don Paul, vice president and chief technology officer, Chevron Corporation. “Collaboration between industry, universities, research institutions and government is essential to overcoming the technological and commercial challenges of manufacturing high-quality transportation fuels from unconventional feedstocks. Chevron is pleased to partner with the nation’s preeminent renewable energy laboratory in this important research.”
Algae are considered a promising potential feedstock for next-generation biofuels because certain species contain high amounts of oil, which could be extracted, processed and refined into transportation fuels using currently available technology. Other benefits of algae as a potential feedstock are their abundance and fast growth rates. Key technical challenges include identifying the strains with the highest oil content and growth rates and developing cost-effective growing and harvesting methods.
About the National Energy Renewable Laboratory
NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for the DOE by Midwest Research Institute and Battelle. More information about NREL is available at www.nrel.gov.
NREL supports the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Biomass Program. NREL is the lead national laboratory of the virtual National Bioenergy Center, which was established to support and help the DOE coordinate the nation’s biomass research activities. The center has primary responsibility for carrying out the agenda of the Office of the Biomass Program of the EERE and other related goals. Collaborating with industrial, academic, related EERE programs and other governmental research, development and commercialization efforts is central to that agenda.
Chevron Corporation is one of the world’s leading integrated energy companies. We have approximately 58,000 employees, and our subsidiaries conduct business in more than 180 countries. We operate across the entire energy spectrum — producing and transporting crude oil and natural gas; refining, marketing and distributing fuels and other energy products and services; manufacturing and selling petrochemical products; generating power; and developing and commercializing the energy resources of the future, including biofuels and other renewables. Chevron expects to spend approximately $2.5 billion on alternative and renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency services between 2007 and 2009. Chevron is based in San Ramon, Calif. More information about Chevron is available at www.chevron.com.