Huge news for Solazyme: Algae oil company starts up commercial factory in Brazil

Gigaom

Algae oil company Solazyme has officially started up its commercial-scale factory in Brazil, working with food and agriculture company Bunge. It’s a big deal for Solazyme because its the company’s largest factory to date, and is supposed to reach 100,000 metric tons per year at full capacity. That’s almost five times more capacity than all of the product Solazyme is producing at its other two smaller factories in Peoria, Illinois, and Galva, Iowa.

It’s also important because it’s a major step for Solazyme to move into making algae-based transportation fuels at scale. Solazyme was one of the first biofuel startups to make the strategic decision to focus on food, nutraceutical and specialty chemicals first, before tackling the daunting fuel industry. Biofuels have to be produced for a very low cost at a very high capacity to be competitive with fossil fuels. The specialty chemical and personal care markets might be smaller…

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