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BUNKER INDEX :: Price Index, News and Directory Information for the Marine Fuel Industry
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ExxonMobil breaks ground on lube R&D plant and engine testing centre

Energy major looking to consolidate research capabilities under one roof.

ExxonMobil employee. Image credit: ExxonMobil

Updated on 17 Oct 2017 10:05 GMT

ExxonMobil has broken ground on the expansion of its research facility in Clinton, New Jersey, which will include a new engine testing centre and a lubricant research and development (R&D) blend plant.

Expansion of the facility, which works on advancing algae biofuel and carbon capture technologies, is expected to be completed in 2019 and will include employees relocating from its research facility in Paulsboro, New Jersey.

"The expansion of our New Jersey research and engineering center will improve collaboration across our organization and enhance our ability to accelerate breakthroughs in new and emerging technologies," said Bruce March, president of ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company. "By co-locating our research and development and products technology organizations in Clinton, we expect to bring potential new technologies online faster and at the scale necessary to meet the world's growing needs for energy."

"By consolidating our research capabilities under one roof and fully leveraging the expertise in all of our departments, we hope to develop scalable solutions that drive both long-term shareholder and societal value," March added.

Last year, ExxonMobil completed the construction of a one-tenth-scale working model of a single-cylinder, two-stroke marine diesel engine which the company is now using to support the development of the next generation of marine lubricants.

Built by an international consortium of engineers that was led by Mahle Powertrain and included staff at ExxonMobil's Paulsboro facility, the scaled-down engine is now installed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee and is said to reproduce the temperatures and pressures found in a full-sized ship's engine using the same marine fuel and lubes.

Algae biofuel

Bunker Index previously reported that the U.S. Navy has been involved in a project to use 100 percent drop-in renewable diesel fuel in its ships.

ReadiDiesel - a 100 percent renewable biofuel - was developed by Applied Research Associates (ARA) and Chevron Lummus Global as a drop-in replacement for petroleum F-76 marine diesel. The biofuels isoconversion process is used to convert renewable feedstocks such as algae oil, plant oils, tallow and waste vegetable oil into renewable fuel.

Commenting on the potential benefits of using algae biofuel on its website, ExxonMobil says: "In addition to using non-arable land and not requiring the use of fresh water, algae could also potentially yield greater volumes of biofuels per acre than other sources. We also know that algae can be used to manufacture biofuels similar in composition to today's transportation fuels."

"In addition, growing algae can provide an environmental benefit. Algae consume CO2 and have the potential to provide GHG mitigation benefits versus conventional fuels," the energy major adds.

Image: ExxonMobil employee. Credit: ExxonMobil

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