Alternative fuel research ongoing

Pond scum — more elegantly known as algae — may be used to “put a tiger in your tank” sometime in the future, the Friends of Finance at the University of Tulsa were told at its October meeting.
There is a much higher yield of hydrocarbons in pond scum than other biological materials, according to some of the research being done by one of the world’s largest oil companies, ranked 14th among 15 and the only one that is not state owned, Donald Humphreys said.
Humphreys — a graduate of Tulsa’s Hale High School and Oklahoma State University — is a senior vice president of that company, the Exxon Mobil Corp., which has 80,000 employees, 2,000 of them holding doctorate degrees and more than 1,000 attorneys; operates on six continents, has 37 refineries, 29,000 retail outlets and spent $3.7 billion on research and development in the past five years.
“Technology is the lifeblood of our company,” he said.
“We do a lot of research in alternate fuels,” among them chicken fat. Exxon Mobil may invest as much as $600 million over the next several years into seeing if algae can be converted to fuel in commercial quantities, Humphreys said. Some algae varieties are capable of going directly to a refinery after being crushed.
It takes years and billions of dollars to bring new energy supplies to the market and decades for promising technology to reach levels that will appreciable change the energy menu.
Exxon Mobil is also acquiring acreage in the U.S. and Canada for it is “very interested” in domestic oil and gas production, he said.
Humphrey put has much, if not greater, emphasis on the business of business.
“Corporate Citizenship,” was the title of his presentation.
Referring to the present economic climate, Humphreys said the last 18 months are “the consequences of poor corporate governance.”
That governance is an “integral part of corporate citizenship,” he said. At Exxon Mobil it affects all aspects the business including ethical, legal and financial.
The world faces the dual challenges of meeting the growing demand for energy, specifically in Asia, and reducing carbon dioxide.

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