US based Synthetic Genomics (SGI) has signed a multi-year research and development agreement with energy giant ExxonMobil and Engineering Company (EMRE) to develop biofuel products.

Under the agreement, SGI will receive more than $300m from EMRE to develop biofuel products by using photosynthetic algae, according to SGI.

SGI will use its proprietary technologies in genomics, metagenomics, synthetic genomics, and genome engineering as a platform, to produce sufficient quantities of biofuels from photosynthetic algae.

As part of the deal, SGI will adopt a systematic approach to find, optimise, and engineer superior strains of algae, the company said.

SGI said it will also take the systematic approach, to define and develop the best systems for large-scale cultivation of algae and conversion of their products into useful biofuels.

Photosynthetic algae, including microalgae and cyanobacteria, utilises the energy from sunlight to convert carbon dioxide into cellular oils (lipids).

Photosynthetic algae also uses this technique to produce some types of long-chain hydrocarbons that can be further processed into fuels and chemicals.