"One by one, big oil firms have touted their investments in algae biofuels as the future of low-carbon transportation – and one by one, they have all dropped out. Now in the wake of the last remaining algae proponent, ExxonMobil, announcing its withdrawal, insiders say they are disappointed but not surprised.
Algae research was central to Exxon’s green marketing campaigns for years, and frequently criticized as greenwashing rather than a genuine research effort.
But several of its former research partners told the Guardian that it was serious about the potential of algae biofuels – explaining why it stayed in the field long past the point at which other oil companies dropped out – but not serious enough.
In its 12 years in the space, Exxon invested $350m in algae biofuels, according to spokesperson Casey Norton. (Norton says that’s more than double what the company spent on touting this research in ads.)"