Exxon and Energy Department team up on biofuels, plastics research

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Research collaborations for cleaner, more energy-dense biofuels and recyclable plastics are at the heart of a new agreement between Exxon Mobil Corp. and Department of Energy laboratories.

Bill Farris, associate director of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colo., explained that the agreement will give scientists better insights into future energy markets and ways to scale up cleaner forms of energy, according to Scientific American.

“Exxon has to think about how you scale things up,” Farris said in an interview about Exxon’s commitment to contribute $100 million to research by NREL and 16 other DOE laboratories over the next 10 years. “That’s probably one of the things we’re most excited about: taking things into the marketplace at scale. NREL could never do that alone.”

He said discussions that led to the agreement last week—one of the largest research projects that DOE labs have with a commercial company—started with biofuels and then expanded to a broad array of joint research discussions that are still underway. The labs and Exxon started talking about the agreement in November 2017.

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