"The production of biofuels from algae gained new prominence this summer when ExxonMobil announced that it will invest up to $600 million in the technology. ExxonMobil and Synthetic Genomics Inc. (SGI) formed a research and development alliance in July to explore the production of biofuels from photosynthetic algae. Photosynthetic algae—such as single-celled "microalgae" and blue-green algae—are organisms that use sunlight to convert carbon dioxide into cellular oils and some long-chain hydrocarbons that can be processed into fuels and chemicals. SGI researchers plan to take a systematic approach to find, optimize, and engineer superior strains of algae, seeking to develop the systems for large-scale cultivation of algae and conversion of the organisms' products into biofuels. ExxonMobil expects to spend $300 million on the project internally, while potentially awarding more than $300 million to SGI. "