The US Department of Energy (DOE) through its National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) has announced a joint research agreement with ExxonMobil.


Image: NREL scientists Frederick Baddour and Calvin Mukarakate work with a molecular beam mass spectrometer at the Field Test Laboratory Building. Photo courtesy of Dennis Schroeder, NREL

Under the ten-year agreement, ExxonMobil will invest up to $100m in the two DOE Laboratories to advance lower-emissions energy technologies that could be brought to commercial scale.

DOE said that the agreement marks one of the largest public-private partnerships between its laboratories and the private sector, and exemplifies its commitment to cross-cutting, result-driven research initiatives.

DOE Fossil Energy Assistant Secretary Steve Winberg said: “Through the innovations coming out of DOE’s National Laboratories and the private sector, America is proving we can grow our economy while being environmentally responsible and reducing emissions. An all-of-the-above energy strategy and public-private partnerships are key to continued progress.”

The agreement is expected to boost research collaboration on projects that are capable of advancing potential scalable technologies to improve energy efficiency, minimize greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce emissions from the production of fossil fuels and petrochemicals.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory director Martin Keller said: “The National Renewable Energy Laboratory is excited to work with ExxonMobil to develop scalable energy solutions for the future and facilitate research partnerships across the national lab system.

“Our partnerships with industry, government, academia and other research organizations drive the collaboration and innovation that is integral to revolutionizing the global energy landscape. By working side-by-side with ExxonMobil researchers, this partnership provides an unprecedented opportunity to explore new technologies and transform energy through science.”

Initial work between ExxonMobil and the national laboratories is intended to explore ways to bring biofuels and carbon capture and storage to commercial scale across the power generation, transportation, and manufacturing sectors.

The part is an addition to a series of partnerships ExxonMobil has announced for innovative lower-emissions research programs. Since 2000, the company has spent more than $9bn on development and deploying of lower-emissions energy solutions.

ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company research and development vice president Vijay Swarup said: “Finding meaningful solutions to address climate change is going to take everyone – governments, companies and academia – working together. This agreement will help us advance fundamental science and demonstrate scale. This is critical because it will give us a better understanding of how to progress technologies so they can be applied globally.”