The Department of Energy (DOE) says it is providing up to $85 million from the stimulus bill that President Obama signed into law earlier this year for the development of algae-based biofuels and “advanced, infrastructure-compatible biofuels.”

DOE says it plans to bring together scientists and engineers from universities, private industry and government to help accelerate commercial production of the biofuels, according to the Oil Price Information Service (OPIS).

The agency says it expects to select two to three partnerships and fund the projects over a three-year period.

OPIS also reports that ExxonMobil has entered into a multi-year, $600-million partnership with biotech company Synthetic Genomics Inc. (SGI) to research and develop next-generation biofuels from photosynthetic algae.

In addition, several other companies are working on producing algae-based biofuels, including Sapphire Energy, PetroSun and Algenol Biofuels (which is teaming up with Dow Chemical Company).