Solazyme, Inc., a synthetic biology company unleashing the power of aquatic microbes to create clean and scalable solutions for biofuel, industrial chemical, and health and wellness markets, today revealed the first ever algae-derived biodiesel fuel (Soladiesel™) to have undergone road testing by successfully powering a factory-standard automobile for long distances under typical driving conditions. The car and fuel will make their public debuts at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, where they are also featured in Fields of Fuel, Josh Tickell’s documentary about renewable fuels. Soladiesel biodiesel is clean, renewable, environmentally sustainable and scalable.
The algal biodiesel fueling the car is made through Solazyme’s proprietary process for manufacturing high-value, functionally-tailored oils from algae. This process, which uses standard industrial fermentation equipment, yields a biofuel that significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions and is biodegradable, nontoxic and safe. Solazyme is currently producing thousands of gallons of algal oil and recently signed a biodiesel feedstock development and testing agreement with Chevron Technology Ventures, a division of Chevron U.S.A. Inc.
“Biodiesel from algae changes the landscape of renewable fuels,” said Jonathan Wolfson, chief executive officer of Solazyme. “The concept of algal biofuel has been discussed for decades, and Solazyme’s technology finally provides a scalable solution based on proven industrial processes. This fuel is just the first example of how algal oil will help the environment through new products that offer attractive economics and performance, as well as environmental benefits.”
Soladiesel exceeds both the requirements of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) biodiesel standard D6751 and EN 14214, the European standard, which ensures that biodiesel can safely run any existing diesel engine. The car demonstrating Solazyme’s biofuel at Sundance is running on its original, factory-standard diesel engine with no modifications, and is powered by the highest blend of biodiesel that engine manufacturers currently certify. By operating in the typical sub-freezing temperatures for the area in January, it also illustrates how Soladiesel provides better temperature properties than any traditional biodiesel.
“In demonstrating this new fuel alternative, we’re responding to the need for a near-term solution that will also be cost effective and sustainable,” added Harrison Dillon, president and chief technology officer of Solazyme. “Our technology combines all the key components: low carbon footprint, environmental sustainability, certified compatibility with existing vehicles and infrastructure, and energy security for our country.”