Solazyme to Market Algal Oil for Jet Fuel


Solazyme is a South San Francisco biotech company that makes oil from algae.  While most algal oil makers harness the ability of algae to use energy from sunlight, Solazyme uses algae that grow in the dark and feed on sugar.

The company has identified natural strains of algae that thrive in the dark and is developing its own strains through genetic engineering.

Currently the company is operating in the cosmetics market where its oil will be used in anti-wrinkle products.

Solazyme recently announced that it will enter the jet fuel market (see the greentechmedia article here).  Its oil has been tested for viability as jet fuel by an independent lab, the Southwest Research Institute (SRI).

SRI tested many elements of Solazyme’s algal oil, including density, thickness and freezing point, and determined that the oil meets the ASTM D1655 standard for aviation turbine fuel.

Solazyme owns one issued patent and eleven published patent applications relating to genetic engineering methods, gene sequences and protein sequences that cause microbes to perform various biochemical functions.

Those functions include generating hydrogen (U.S. Patent No. 7,135,290) and boosting photosynthetic energy production by increasing a microorganism’s ability to harvest photons of light (U.S. Patent Application Pub No. 2008/124756).

Biofuel for air travel has the potential to be a huge market, and commercial airlines are looking to algae and other renewables to reduce their reliance on traditional jet fuel.

Eric Lane Avatar

Eric Lane

Eric Lane, the founder and principal of Green Patent Law, is an intellectual property lawyer and registered U.S. patent attorney in New York and is a member of the bar in New York and California. Eric has more than two decades of experience working with wind, solar PV, CSP, biofuels, and geothermal, energy storage technologies, carbon capture and sequestration, medical devices, data communications, mechanical, chemical, internet and software.