Algae company Solazyme was one of the first of the biofuel startups to decide to focus on the food, nutraceutical and specialty chemical markets first, before tackling the daunting fuel industry. But after nine-years, an IPO and $125 million in venture funding, Solazyme is finally ready to break into biofuels in a more commercial way: this week Solazyme announced the ground-breaking of a plant that will produce biofuels in Brazil through a joint venture with Bunge.
The factory, Solazyme’s first large one, is being built next to Bunge’s sugarcane factory in the Moema region of Sao Paulo, Brazil, and is supposed to be operational in the fourth quarter of 2013. Bunge is providing the sugar stock and Solazyme is utilizing its sugar to oil production technology. The plant will produce 30 million gallons of Solazyme’s algae-based oil a year, and the oil will be used in both the specialty chemical and fuel markets — applications like a sustainable alternative to palm oil for use in various products.