Solazyme starts up Illinois renewable oil biorefinery

Renewable oil and bio-products company Solazyme said Friday that it successfully commissioned its first fully-integrated biorefinery (IBR) in Peoria, Illinois, to produce algal oil.

Solazyme has been running routine fermentations at commercial scale since 2007 and began running fermentation operations at the Peoria facility in the fourth quarter of 2011.

With the successful production of algal oil from the integrated facility this month, Solazyme has met its start-up goals for the facility on schedule, the company said.

The IBR was partially funded with a federal grant that Solazyme received from the US Department of Energy (DOE) in December 2009 to demonstrate integrated commercial-scale production of renewable algal-based fuels.

The demonstration/ commercial-scale plant will have a nameplate capacity of 2 million liters/year of oil and will provide a platform for continued work on feedstock flexibility and scaling of new tailored oils into the marketplace.

To maximize capital efficiency, Solazyme bought the existing Peoria facility in May 2011 and began retrofitting the former PMP Fermentation Products plant into an integrated demonstration/commercial-scale facility that will produce renewable tailored triglyceride, it said.

Solazyme has been operating at semi-commercial scale through contract manufacturers since 2007.

The company has seen linear productivity in its scale-up efforts, including multiple toll manufacturing facilities and multiple successful 128,000-liter scale fermentations at Peoria.

"Bringing the Peoria IBR online is a major milestone for Solazyme and our ability to provide a new source of renewable oils that are specifically tailored to offer enhanced alternatives to conventional sources of oil,” said Rogerio Manso, chief commercialization officer.

“The Department of Energy has proven to be a valuable partner in demonstrating how important new technologies like Solazyme can positively impact this country’s economy, long-term job creation and energy independence efforts,”

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