Solazyme: Millions of Gallons of Algae Biodiesel Within 3 Years

Algae Can be Used for Biodiesel photo
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The Great Green Goey Hope
While many types of biofuels are far from ideal, there is one that shows more promise than the others: Algae. One of the companies working on algae-based biodiesel is Solazyme (we already wrote about their algae-B100 test-drive), and the latest news is that they are planning to build a new production plant in the next two years with a goal of producing "millions of gallo100ns" of algae oil and biodiesel competitively with fossil fuels within 3 years.

Algae Microscope photo

Solazyme Technology
Solazyme is doing things a bit differently from other algae-biofuel startups. Instead of growing the algae in open-air ponds or in glass containers that are exposed to the sun, they are growing them in the dark, in huge containers, and they are feeding them with plant biomass. They then ferment it and extract the oil.

The company's "Soladiesel" biodiesel has been certified "to work in diesel cars" and the oil they produce can be used in existing oil refineries.

Algae Yields
Solazyme CEO Jonathan Wolfson:

"It's our perspective that most numbers (on algae yield) are far in excess of reality, some are beyond theoretical," Wolfson said. Producing less than 10,000 thousand of algae per acre is realistic, "but you're not going to see 100,00 gallons per acre any time soon."