Algae Biorefinery Project In Pennsylvania

petri plates of algae
It doesn’t look like much, but algae can combat greenhouse gas emissions and create green jobs.
(cc) Mike Rosati Photography

Solazyme, a renewable oil and bioproducts company utilizing innovative algal biotechnology, has received a $21.8 million federal grant to build its first integrated biorefinery in rural Riverside, Pennsylvania, marking a major step toward commercial scale production of algal based fuel. The project will enhance the national infrastructure investment in biofuels as an alternative to fossil fuels and will create or preserve many green jobs. The project funding was announced today by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Funds provided by the DOE and private investment will be used to move toward commercialization faster, creating and preserving jobs in diverse regions across the country and creating jobs in manufacturing, construction and agricultural processing. Solazyme’s technology is fully compatible with existing petroleum industry infrastructure and today’s vehicles while providing the added benefit of a dramatically reduced overall carbon footprint. Biofuels refined from Solazyme’s algal oil provide an 85% to 95% percent reduction in overall greenhouse gas emissions.

“We are honored to partner with the Department of Energy and are excited to be creating jobs in California and Pennsylvania. Our technology reduces reliance on foreign oil and enhances national security while providing strong environmental benefits,” said Jonathan Wolfson, chief executive officer of Solazyme.

“California has led the world in enacting policies that harness the private sector to create the clean and renewable technologies needed to combat climate change and reduce our dependency on foreign oil,” said Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. “Thanks to companies like Solazyme, many of these new technologies are starting up right here in our great state and creating jobs for Californians. I am proud our green economy can serve as an example for the rest of the world and I congratulate Solazyme and the Department of Energy for making this important investment towards our clean energy future.”

“Last year’s record high gas prices and their impact on families and businesses proved that we must reduce our dependence on foreign oil in favor of biofuels produced here at home. Solazyme’s innovative project is working towards that goal by demonstrating how we can turn algae into fuel in a cost-effective way and on a commercial scale. These are the types of investments we must make today in order to strengthen our economy, our environment and our national security in the long-run,” said Governor Edward Rendell of Pennsylvania.

“I am proud that a Pennsylvania company has again succeeded in the green technology arena and will move our country forward into producing advanced biofuels,” said Senator Casey. “Supporting these early ventures is critical to ensuring the viability of the next generation of renewable fuels and reducing our nation’s dependence on foreign sources of energy.”

“California’s 12th Congressional District is at the epicenter of innovation in this country and companies like Solazyme are writing the newest chapter in the technology playbook which has sustained our economy for many years,” said Rep. Jackie Speier. “Solazyme is an inspiring, ground-breaking company that is pushing the envelope of innovation,” Rep. Jackie Speier continued. “I applaud the Department of Energy for recognizing and encouraging the truly amazing work that is going on at Solazyme as they help our nation move into a new, clean energy economy.”

“I’m very excited that Solazyme has been awarded a grant from the Department of Energy to continue their innovative work with biofuels,” said Rep. Jerry McNerney. “Solazyme is at the forefront of developing new technology with great potential to increase our country’s energy independence. As a former renewable energy engineer, I know firsthand the importance of developing these types of technologies. I look forward to seeing the continuation of Solazyme’s work in this field.”

Solazyme’s Integrated Biorefinery will be located on the site of Cherokee Pharmaceuticals’ existing commercial biomanufacturing facility in Riverside, Pennsylvania. DOE funds will complement significant private investment in the project.

Earlier this week Solazyme, Inc. was ranked the number one bioenergy company in the world for 2009-10 by Biofuels Digest. The award, which more than 1400 companies were eligible for, recognizes Solazyme’s innovation and achievement in bioenergy.

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