Solazyme, a San Francisco-based company that specializes in creating sustainable oils from microalgae, has been awarded the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award in Washington D.C. The Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards promote the environmental and economic benefits of developing and using novel green chemistry and recognizes technologies that incorporate the principles of green chemistry into chemical design, manufacturing and production. Solazyme won the 2014 Greener Synthetic Pathways Award for its microalgal fermentation-based tailored oils. This win represents the first time a company working with microalgae to produce renewable oils has been recognized with the award. Solazyme's Chief Technology Officer, Peter Licari, accepted the 2014 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award in Washington, D.C.
Achieving the desired compositions from plant oils is often energy intensive, expensive, can be wasteful, and, in some cases, requires use of hazardous chemicals. Solazyme recognized that the pathways that make oil in canola, soybean, palm, and coconut first evolved in microalgae. Taking advantage of the inherent oil-producing ability of microalgae, the company developed a process to make oils via fermentation. Solazyme's genetically engineered microalgae can produce oils tailored to customers' needs that can mimic or enhance properties of traditional vegetable oils or animal fats. These microalgae-derived oils are consistent regardless of season, geographic origin, and feedstock source.