Solazyme Awarded US $21M Grant for Algae Refinery in Pennsylvania

Solazyme Inc. will build its first integrated algae fuel refinery in Pennsylvanis. The biorefinery will be built in Riverside, Pennsylvania and will be funded in part by a US $21.8 million federal grant that the company received this week. This news marks a major step toward pushing the fledgling algae fuel industry into 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, according the the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), which announced the funding this week.

Funds provided by the DOE and private investment will help to develop Solazyme’s technology, which the company said is fully compatible with existing petroleum industry infrastructure and today’s vehicles while providing the added benefit of a dramatically reduced overall carbon footprint.

Solazyme uses an indirect photosynthesis bioproduction process that takes advantage of microalgae to convert biomass directly into oil. The company said that its process can be performed in standard commercial fermentation facilities.

“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.

Solazyme’s Integrated Biorefinery will be located on the site of Cherokee Pharmaceuticals’ existing commercial biomanufacturing facility in Riverside, PA. 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.

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