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Solazyme and Mitsui combine resources on oleochemicals venture

By Simon Pitman , 18-Feb-2013

Renewable oil and chemical company Solazyme, has entered into a joint agreement with Japanese company Mitsui to develop and produce a portfolio of triglyceride oils for the oleochemical category.

Triglyceride is an oily liquid made from glycerol and combined with three molecules of fatty acids. There are a number of different types of triglycerides with many different applications, with coconut oil based triglycerides being commonly used for cosmetic and personal care applications.

However, the two companies are planning to base their portfolio of triglycerides on breakthrough technology developed by Solazyme that is based on myristic algal oil, a valuable raw material commonly used in the oleochemicals category.

Expanding conventional supply

“Collaborating with Solazyme allows us to develop highly attractive products to penetrate the traditional oleochemicals industry, and expand beyond the supply limitations caused by both regional oil production and constraints in conventional oil profiles,” said Daiji Kojima, General Manager of Specialty chemicals Division, Mitsui.

The $20 million multi-year agreement will also include additional oils that Solazyme will be developing the oleochemicals and industrial sectors, both in the Asia-Pacific region and worldwide.

The companies say that the product development will span a multi-year period that will see a raft of new products and launches through a joint research and development alliance.

Renewable high-performance polymers

The end-use for these newly developed products will include renewable, high-performance polymer additives for a range of applications, from personal care to plastics packaging, as well as household products and lubricants.

“Mitsui’s extensive knowledge of the end use markets for the jointly-developed triglyceride products, including both the oleochemical industry and applications further downstream, makes Mitsui an ideal fit for Solazyme,” said Jonathan Wolfson, CEO, Solazyme.

“We look forward to rapid progress on our research and development efforts, and to commercialize these novel products thereafter.”

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