Solazyme scales oil fermentation at ADM facility in Iowa

By Solazyme Inc. | December 17, 2012

Solazyme Inc., a renewable oil and bioproducts company, has announced the successful completion of multiple initial fermentations at Archer Daniels Midland Co.’s Clinton, Iowa facility. In these runs, Solazyme achieved commercial-scale production metrics, exhibited linear scalability of its process from laboratory scale, and demonstrated the ability to run at this scale without contamination. The fermentations were conducted in approximately 500,000-liter vessels, which are about four times the scale of the vessels in Solazyme’s Peoria facility. Solazyme is initially targeting annual production of 20,000 metric tons of oil starting in early 2014 at the ADM facility, with targeted expansion to 100,000 metric tons.

The scale achieved at ADM’s Clinton facility is comparable to the fermentation equipment currently under construction at the Solazyme Bunge Renewable Oils facility in Brazil.  This 100,000 metric ton annual nameplate capacity facility in Brazil is on schedule to begin operations in Q4 2013.

“Working with ADM’s world class fermentation team to achieve commercial scale operations at the ADM facility shortly after announcing the partnership exhibits our ability to rapidly and successfully scale in large commercial fermentation facilities,” stated Peter Licari, chief technology officer at Solazyme. “Solazyme is currently developing commercial facilities in the U.S., France and Brazil, and with these runs we have now achieved linear scale-up of over 70,000-fold from our labs.”

Solazyme is utilizing ADM’s existing Clinton, Iowa, manufacturing facility in a capital-efficient expansion of its renewable oil production platform in North America.  As part of that arrangement, Solazyme has the ability to fund certain payments with equity rather than cash.  To facilitate the equity payments, the company filed a registration statement with the SEC on Dec. 13.