Solazyme Seeks Solutions

by Alexander Flores

Solazyme, an up and coming company from south San Francisco is pursuing a vision to improve our planet and human life by producing sustainable, high-performance oils and ingredients derived from the microalgae that accumulates in countless places. Solazyme is attacking some of today’s biggest issues such as sustainability, resource scarcity, and resource traceability by identifying oil profiles that can improve both performance and longevity of products. These oil profiles are then produced with microalgae, providing alternatives to petroleum, vegetable oils, and animal fats. Solazyme’s products may be useful in personal care, industrial usage, food, and fuel industries. Their main oil-producing microalgae strain was originally discovered over a century ago on the sap of a chestnut tree in Germany and was carefully selected after approximately over ten thousand screenings of other strains. This microalgae can grow without any light and can natively convert sugars directly into oils and other whole algal products in closed fermentation tanks. Typically, a microalgae strain is selected to produce a specific oil, which then goes through a drying or standard oil extraction stage. Some of these products include AlgaVia, Whole Algal Flour, Whole Algal Protein food ingredients, and alguronic acid. They claim that their high stability, high oleic oil is one of the healthiest oils in existence with low levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids, zero transfats, high omega 9 fatty acids, and low saturated fats. These uniquely derived oils may find themselves in products in your home in the near future, from a bar of soap to paint to tires to cooking oil and even cosmetics. Along with these particular household applications, these microalgae can also be used to develop biofuels that burn cleaner and perform better than petroleum-based fuels. For instance, Soladiesel BD is 100% algae-derived and can already be used with standard diesel engines without modification. This fuel is also fully compliant with the ASTM D 6751 specifications for Fatty Acid Methyl-Esther (FAME) based fuel that meets ASTM D 975, and significantly outperforms ultra-low sulfur diesel in total THC, carbon monoxide and particulate matter tailpipe emissions. Solajet, on the other hand, is the world’s first microbially-derived jet fuel to meet key industry specifications for commercial aviation, ASTM D 1655. It is fully compatible with the existing infrastructure and offers a faster, farther, and greater payload by reducing wing heat stress, lowering flammability, lowering smoke emissions, increasing storage life and lowering maintenance costs overall. Solazyme seeks to decouple the production of oil from geography and reduce the ecosystem damage that unsustainable oils have caused. Essentially, these algal oils can replace fossil fuels at one end of the spectrum and unsustainable plant-based oils at the other.


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