Solazyme announces Ill. project proceeding ahead of schedule

By Erin Voegele | August 13, 2013

Solazyme Inc. recently released financial results for the second quarter of 2012, reporting progress in the development of its commercial production facilities. The company reported total revenue for the quarter of $11.2 million, down from $13.5 million reported for the same period of last year.

According information released by Solazyme, the $11.2 million in revenue reported for the second quarter included $4.9 million in product sales, up 21 percent from the $4.1 million in product sales posted during the second quarter of 2012. Development revenues with commercial partners also increased, reaching $6.2 million during the quarter, versus $4.7 million for the same period of last year. However, the increases in product and development revenues with commercial partners were offset by lower government funded revenues, which the company said was in line with its expectations.

In its financial release, Solazyme highlighted recent business achievements, including the fact that the company has demonstrated the ability to produce erucic acid though its proprietary microalgae platform. Solazyme has also finalized commercial terms with Sasol for the supply of an algae oil rich in erucic acid for production of behenyl alcohol. The company is also establishing new large-scale manufacturing capability for high-protein and high-lipid products that were previously part of the Solazyme Roquette Nutritionals joint venture, with both products targeted for beginning production at the company’s Peoria, Ill., facility this year. Finally, Solazyme recently entered into a joint development agreement with AkzoNobel that targets the development of advanced tailored oils and commercial sales for the specialty surfactants and paints and coatings markets.

During a call to discuss the results, Solazyme CEO Jonathan Wolfson reported that the company’s second quarter performance was “strong and on track.” Projects in Brazil and the U.S. are set to come online in coming quarters he said, noting that the 100,000-metric-ton production facility under development by the Solazyme Bunge Renewable Oils joint venture is on schedule. “The project is nearly 80 percent complete and on track with our engineering timelines, construction plans and budget,” Wolfson said, noting that initial commercial-scale operations at the Brazilian facility are expected to begin during the fourth quarter.

According to Wolfson, progress is also being made in Clinton, Iowa, with Solazyme’s partner ADM Inc. Commissioning on that project is expected to begin ahead of schedule, within the next few months. “The ADM facility is fully permitted for the initial targeted volume of up to 20,000 metric tons,” he continued.

Wolfson credits three factors with the accelerated pace of development at the Clinton site. First, he said that partnership with ADM has gone well, both in terms of manufacturing and market development. Second, the permitting process proceeded faster than expected. Third, the company has decided to leverage an existing partnership to augment its downstream processing capabilities.

During his presentation, Wolfson also addressed the June announcement that Solazyme and Roquette had agreed to dissolve the algal food ingredients joint venture. “On the heels of the dissolution, we’ve mobilized extremely quickly to commercialize the products and technology that have returned to us,” he said. “We now expect to produce our high-lipid and high-protein ingredients, whole algal flour and whole algal protein at scale in Peroia this year.”

On the same day that Solazyme released its second quarter financial results, the company also announced that its new product, Advanced Anti-Aging Repairing Oil, is now available internationally at Sephora. The product is made with patent-pending microalgae oil, which is rich in oleic acid.