Exxon's R&D budget for green technology

November 3rd, 2017 at 2:28:03 PM permalink
reno
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
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Exxon says that since 2000, it has spent $8 billion researching, developing, and deploying low carbon technologies. It's current budget for green R&D is $1 billion annually.

Quote: Bloomberg
Projects it’s working on include:

Algae biofuels: Exxon is planning to harvest algae in ponds or oceans around the world and process it into a biofuel for regional distribution. Swarup expects that it will first be blended with diesel and jet fuel, but the goal is to eventually sell a 100 percent algae-derived fuel.

Biodiesel made from agricultural waste: The company is working with Renewable Energy Group Inc. to use microbes to convert inedible crop residue like corn husks into biofuels. The two companies began their collaboration in 2016 and recently extended their joint research program.

Carbonate fuel cells: Most fuel cells generate electricity by reacting chemically with natural gas or hydrogen. These ones use carbon dioxide. Exxon and FuelCell Energy Inc. are researching how the devices can be used in carbon capture and storage and to generate electricity at the same time. It’s building a pilot plant within a few months and is working on the engineering of the facility now.

Process intensification: Exxon is working with Georgia Institute of Technology to develop a more efficient way of refining crude oil into plastic. It involves using a membrane and osmosis rather than heat. Exxon is targeting carbon dioxide emission reductions by as much as half with the process.

“We are still 10 plus years away” for both the algae biofuels and carbonate fuel cells to be deployed at scale, according to Vice President of Research and Development Vijay Swarup, who said the company’s been focusing research on algae for eight years.


I have mixed feelings about their claims, because on the one hand basic research is extremely slow, and it's understandable that converting their findings into profitable commercial applications takes years and years.

On the other hand, why is it always 10 years away? Many other companies which much smaller budgets are already far ahead of Exxon in terms of deploying green technology, now, not 10 years from now. At United Airlines' LAX hub, the airline has been using an aviation fuel blend of 30% algae-based biofuel, 70% conventional jet fuel since March 2016. United will purchase 15 million gallons of algae-produced biofuel between now and 2019.

Moreover, United Airlines has invested $30 million in Fulcrum Bioenergy which generates fuel not from algae, but from: household trash. Fulcrum uses food scraps, paper, wood, textiles, and cardboard from municipal waste facilities. The cost? Less than $1/gallon. Fulcrum and United agreed to a 10-year contract to buy 90 million gallons of garbage-based aviation fuel per year. Fulcrum plans to build 5 refineries near the airline’s hub airports, with the first expected to begin operating in 2019.

Maybe Exxon's $1 billion would be better spent purchasing all of Fulcrum, and using their proprietary technology to build biofuel refineries next door to every large airport in the US, cornering the entire aviation fuel market with cheap, renewable, household garbage.
November 3rd, 2017 at 2:33:27 PM permalink
AZDuffman
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
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Quote: reno


Maybe Exxon's $1 billion would be better spent purchasing all of Fulcrum, and using their proprietary technology to build biofuel refineries next door to every large airport in the US, cornering the entire aviation fuel market with cheap, renewable, household garbage.


ExxonMobil has hundreds to thousands of times more to lose if they put out a bad idea or something faulty and get sued.

When you are the #1 by far you do not do research to have the next big thing. You do it to be a "fast follower" and jump into what starts to move.
The man who damns money has obtained it dishonorably; the man who respects it has earned it
November 3rd, 2017 at 3:26:23 PM permalink
Nareed
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
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Quote: reno
On the other hand, why is it always 10 years away? Many other companies which much smaller budgets are already far ahead of Exxon in terms of deploying green technology, now, not 10 years from now.


Exxon has a popular product they're set to distribute and sell, plus tons of money and market value. Startups lack a product, so they have to develop one fast. Smaller companies, even if established, lack money and market value, so they also want a new product they can sell lots of.

Exxon is developing side dishes, the small companies are developing their basic sustenance.
If Trump where half as smart as he thinks he is, he'd be twice as smart as he really is.
November 3rd, 2017 at 5:58:08 PM permalink
reno
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 54
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Quote: Nareed
Exxon has a popular product they're set to distribute and sell, plus tons of money and market value. Startups lack a product, so they have to develop one fast. Smaller companies, even if established, lack money and market value, so they also want a new product they can sell lots of.

Exxon is developing side dishes, the small companies are developing their basic sustenance.


I like Shell's approach instead. In December 2016, a Shell-led consortium of energy companies won a bid to build a 680 megawatt off-shore wind farm in the Netherlands. Shell is investing $319 million in the project, and needless to say 680 MW is huge. That's enough power for about 500,000 homes. The project should be complete by 2020.

In theory, I appreciate Exxon's long-term strategy, but Shell's project should produce real-world results much sooner.
November 3rd, 2017 at 10:01:29 PM permalink
Pacomartin
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
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Quote: reno
I like Shell's approach instead. In December 2016, a Shell-led consortium of energy companies won a bid to build a 680 megawatt off-shore wind farm in the Netherlands.


The current largest off-shore wind farm in the world is the London Array at 630 MW (175 turbines)
November 4th, 2017 at 3:22:48 AM permalink
odiousgambit
Member since: Oct 28, 2012
Threads: 75
Posts: 1601
Quote: reno
why is it always 10 years away?


a lot of things are always a decade or two away; and sometimes prove to be permanently so, like the lyrics "love ya, Tomorrow, always a day away!" ... especially things thinly supported like switching to renewable energy, but also things that require vision for the future. People who predict future technologies are still getting it wrong pretty often.

some headlines coming up in a google search:

Manned Mission to Mars By 2030s Is Really Possible, Experts Say

NASA Now Says Manned Mars Mission in 2030s Is Unlikely ...

Auto Outlook 2040: The Rise of Fully Autonomous Vehicles | Loup ...

Renewable Energy Can Provide 80 Percent of U.S. Electricity by 2050 ...
The light at the end of the tunnel is often a freight train coming the other way! per Fleastiff
November 4th, 2017 at 10:52:48 AM permalink
Evenbob
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 111
Posts: 11818
Quote: odiousgambit
a lot of things are always a decade or two away


And about as reliable as all the
predictions made about the
year 2000 in the 60's and 70's.
Flying cars, robots, auto pilot cars.
Colonies on the moon and mars.
Instead we got cell phones and
home computers, which nobody
predicted.
If you take a risk, you may lose. If you never take a risk, you will always lose.