Company initiatives, Conference

AkzoNobel, Solazyme in algal partnership

Good morning from Taipei, home of this year’s Asia Petrochemical Industry Conference (#APIC13). My apologies for the sparse blog post as I prepare for my presentation later this afternoon about bio-based chemicals feedstock. If my boss will let me, I will post the presentation later this week.

APIC 2013 conference in Taipei, Taiwan

In the meantime, here is an interesting news on the surfactants front. Specialty chemical firm AkzoNobel announced yesterday that it has partnered with Solazyme for the development and commercial sales of specialty surfactants as well as paints/coatings made from tailored algal oils.

Surfactants currently use triglyceride oil feedstock that comes from vegetable oils such as coconut oil, palm kernel or palm oil, rapeseed oils and animal fats. The biggest application for surfactants is in the production of detergents but the industry is also seeing growth for applications in oil fracking, cosmetics and toiletries, agrochemicals, and industrial and other specialty markets.

According to Solazyme, commercial supply of multi-thousand ton quantities of their tailored algal oil is expected to be produced from the Solazyme Bunge Renewable Oils joint venture manufacturing plant in Moema, Brazil. The 100,000 tonnes/year  facility is expected to being operation in Q4 2013. Sales of product from the AkzoNobel partnership are anticipated to commence in 2014 and pricing is said to be  competitive and based upon Solazyme’s cost of manufacturing.

The blog posted in the past some of Solazyme’s target gross margin for their algal oils. In the chemicals sector, Solazyme noted cost of production for the algal oils are somewhere around $1,000/metric tons and higher compared to average selling price for currently used triglyceride oils of between $1,800 and $5,000 per metric ton.

In Solazyme’s last earnings report, the company noted asking price target for their oleic oil platform at between $1,800-$3,000 per metric ton; lauric oils platform at between $1,500 and $2,500 per metric ton; and myristic oils platform at $3,000/metric tons or higher.

Product development efforts for the AkzoNobel partnership are expected to begin in the second half of 2013.

Early this year, Solazyme has also partnered with Japanese firm Mitsui to develop a suite of triglyceride oils for use in the oleochemical industry.

By the way, the blog is going to cover the ICIS World Surfactants conference next week with live tweets (#Surfactants) coming from New Jersey, USA. Stay tuned for that as I am sure there are a lot of interesting developments going on in the bio-based surfactant feedstock markets.

About Doris de Guzman

Will Green Chemistry save the world or is it hype? Doris de Guzman examines alternative processing, new technology, R&D and other sustainability initiatives aimed at preventing pollution; replacing ingredients; and using renewable feedstocks in Green Chemistry. She has been covering the oleochemicals market for 15 years and spread her beat to inorganics, biofuels and green chemistry.

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