The Lamp 2017

Outlook for Energy . The annual study looks into the future at the evolving landscape. The most recent Outlook forecasts that the world’s economy will double by the year 2040. There will be 1.8 billion cars, light trucks and SUVs in the world, up from 1 billion now. “Our company makes long-term, multibillion dollar investment decisions and needs to have as clear an understanding as possible of what the future may hold,” Wojnar says. “The close link between our strategic planning and our research program is vital to the future success of the corporation.” A rich portfolio Based on this forward thinking, researchers at ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company (EMRE) are exploring the science behind next-generation fuels and vehicles, and developing new technologies to support the energy needs of the future. EMRE’s Emerging Technologies research organization has a rich portfolio of projects in five areas of endeavor: increasing energy supply, improving efficiency, promoting good science for sound policy, mitigating emissions and expanding energy access. “We want to have our aperture as wide open as possible to understand the fundamentals behind various energy options being pursued

today in academia, at national labs and within the industry,” says Vijay Swarup, EMRE’s vice president of research and development. “This allows us to understand which technologies are fundamentally different and technically viable to progress over a period of decades.” What makes an energy option attractive? “It should be scalable, reliable, affordable and sustainable,” he says. Currently, in the mitigating emissions area, ExxonMobil has multiple research programs and partnerships involving carbon capture and sequestration, with researchers studying the capture of carbon dioxide emissions. One program involves researching and testing whether carbonate fuel-cell carbon-capture technology is feasible on a commercial scale. ExxonMobil researchers are also looking at ways to increase supply by converting natural gas to higher-value products and creating alternative fuels such as biofuels. “We’re studying the fundamental ways in which algae absorb light, and through normal biological processes, generate the types of oil we need to convert into transportation fuel,” Swarup says. (See story on page 23.) He adds that one of the greatest sources for energy tomorrow is being more efficient with what the world has today. “Our researchers are looking at


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