RENEWABLE oil and bioproducts developer Solazyme announced late last month that it successfully scaled up multiple fermentations of renewable oil at the Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM) corn processing terminal in Clinton, Iowa.
Solazyme said its renewable products can replace or enhance oils derived from petroleum, plants and animal fats and are targeted to the fuel, chemical, nutrition and personal care industries.
The initial fermentation runs at Clinton were designed to test the ability to ramp up the Solazyme processes from laboratory scale to commercial scale, including the various production metrics necessary to fully commercialize the process and product.
By using the ADM facility, Solazyme was able to process fermentations in 500,000-liter vessels, roughly four times larger than the vessels available in its own facility in Peoria, Ill. Following the success of the initial fermentations, Solazyme has targeted an annual production of 20,000 metric tons of oil at the ADM facility starting in early 2014, with an expansion target of 100,000 mt.
Solazyme said it is also building comparable fermentation equipment at a facility it operates in Brazil through a joint venture with Bunge that was announced early last year. That facility is designed with a nameplate capacity of 100,000 mt and is scheduled to begin operations in the fourth quarter of 2013.
In November, Solazyme announced an agreement to expand joint venture-owned oil production capacity at Solazyme Bunge Renewable Oils beyond the 100,000 mt under construction in Brazil to 300,000 mt by 2016 at select processing facilities worldwide that are owned and operated by Bunge.
The companies said they also intend to expand the portfolio of oils to be produced at the facility in Brazil to include certain tailored food oils for sale in Brazil, where Bunge is the largest supplier of edible oils through several of its retail brands.
In its arrangement with ADM at the Clinton facility, Solazyme said it was tapping an existing facility to manage a capital-efficient expansion of its North American platform by taking advantage of ADM's willingness to accept some payments via equity rather than cash.