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Solazyme, Ecopetrol partner to produce algae-based biofuel in Colombia

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Solazyme has partnered with Colombia's largest oil corporation, Ecopetrol, to produce renewable biofuel derived from algae.

Industrial biotech outfit Solazyme has again partnered with Colombia's largest oil corporation, Ecopetrol, to produce renewable biofuel derived from microalgae.

The companies have been working to determine the manufacturing viability of algae-based diesel fuel using Colombian feedstocks such as sugarcane and byproduct glycerol.

Until now, the companies' two-year partnership was mostly research and development-oriented. This week's' announcement marks the third phase, which includes:

  • Establishing feedstock specifications and optimization.
  • Conducting large-scale fermentation.
  • Engineering demonstration scale facilities.

The goal: commercial deployment of renewable oil and fuel production.

Ecopetrol plans to offer at least 450 million tons of fuel made from renewable oil sources by 2015.

“Solazyme's technology will provide Colombia with renewable sources of oil and fuel that dramatically reduce carbon pollution by replacing petro-diesel with a 'drop-in' replacement made using algae," said Solazyme CEO Jonathan Wolfson in a statement.

Last year, SmartPlanet visited San Francisco, Calif.-based Solazyme's offices to find out more about the company's biofuel tech. Here's a look:

[video=330289]

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Andrew Nusca

Editor Emeritus

Andrew Nusca is editor of SmartPlanet and an associate editor for ZDNet. Previously, he worked at Money, Men's Vogue and Popular Mechanics magazines. He holds degrees from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and New York University. He is based in New York but resides in Philadelphia. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure