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Uniliver to invest in algae !! 15

As food and consumer-goods companies face problems obtaining the key ingredient palm oil without damaging the environment, Unilever is betting on a promising low-life alternative: algae. 

London-based Unilever, which relies on palm oil to make Dove soap, Vaseline lotion and Magnum ice cream, is set to announce Wednesday that it has made a multimillion-dollar investment in Solazyme Inc., a South San Francisco, Calif., company that harvests algal oil, a liquid that can replace palm oil in foods, soaps and lotions and serve as biodiesel fuel to power airplanes.

In case you have forgotten about the agreement Uniliver signed up with Solazyme recently pl read
http://www.oilgae.com/club/users/narsi/blogs/17
Many of you may even remember that the Japanese food giant called San-ei Gen has participated in the recent $ 54 m Vc funding to Solazyme as a strategic partner.


Unilever's investment comes as big food companies are under pressure from environmentalists ...http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703720004575477531661393258.html
Wed September 08 2010 12:09:24 PM by Shankar japanese food giant  |  food companies and algae  |  algae  |  solazyme  |  uniliver 2315 views

Comments - 8

  • Wed September 08 2010 10:02:29 PM

    Solazyme is obviously into making huge quantities of an or a variety of ingredients that go into making some food products. They are most probably high valued.
    That is why the food and cosmetic giants are partnering Solazyme.

    Solazyme's business plan is revolving around the fact that they make High valued products first and fuel comes next.

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  • Arden wrote:
    Wed September 08 2010 10:58:26 PM

    Dear Mia Franceska

    I like your enthusiasm. Yes Solazyme is on to several food ingredients and cosmetic ingredients using algae.

    Unilever's investment in Solazyme is to avoid incidents like , when activists dressed as orangutans near Unilever's headquarters to call attention to rain-forest destruction.


    This year the British tabloid the Sun ran the headline "Kit Katastrophe" alongside a photo of two primates, after the environmental group Greenpeace criticized Indonesia's PT Sinar Mas Agro Resources & Technology, a major supplier of palm oil to Nestl?, Unilever and Kraft Foods Inc., among others.

    Nestl?, Unilever and Kraft since have dropped PT Smart as a supplier, though the Indonesian company has denied Greenpeace's allegations.

    Nestl? this year announced a "zero deforestation" policy, with guidelines to ensure its products don't cause deforestation. Nestl? declines to comment on whether it is testing algal oil.

    Kraft says it is looking at alternatives to palm oil but that it is too early to talk about them specifically.

    Consumer-products giant Procter & Gamble Co. says that while it is committed to sustainable resources, it isn't pursuing algal oil at this point.

    The world's biggest buyer of palm oil, Unilever sops up 3% to 4% of the global market, according to the company. Unilever and Nestl? have committed to sourcing all their palm oil from certified sustainable sources by 2015.

    Now Mia Franceska ! These are what is behind the interest in Solazyme by the food giants.

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  • Luis wrote:
    Wed September 08 2010 11:07:49 PM

    Hello Shankar Mia and Arden et al

    The mystery of Solazyme is unfolding. Its because a they had the food ingredients and large food manufacturing companies had public protest agains t deforestation, etc

    i have read recently that Solazyme has gotten seriously into food products
    using algae oil.
    Not necessariliy gene modified.

    "We've made all kinds of food products," said co-founder Jonathan Wolfson, Solazyme's CEO in an interview that i raed.


    "We've used the oil for frying. We've made mayonnaises, ice creams. And they work, taste good and are functional."

    He said the company has also made face creams, which have proven popular in trials.

    Now, Solazyme is focusing on building a commercial facility to prepare for high-volume output.

    Solazyme can engineer "oil profiles," devising replacements for different types of oil, by optimizing algae strains through genetic modification or conventional breeding techniques.

    Mr. Wolfson said that the oils tested in consumer products haven't been genetically modified, though he hopes consumer fears around genetic modification will abate.

    "In the meantime, we're going to go where the market tells us we have to go," he said.

    "We'll use natural strains where the market calls for it."

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  • Shankar wrote:
    Wed September 08 2010 11:08:57 PM

    I can engineer an ' oil profile' !!

    That is opening up a huge market for algae !!

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  • Shankar wrote:
    Wed September 08 2010 11:34:22 PM

    Thanks Mia, Arden, Luis and others

    Richard Branson is investing in Solazyme !

    Whether Solazymes fermentation model will ultimtely deliver or not, whether they will be able to make the food ingredients, the cosmetic substitutes etc are not, they seem pretty good at convincing the investors.

    They now have a glittering team of investors.

    Read this article which talks of Richard Branson's personal investment of $ 60 million in Solazyme





    RICHARD Branson is betting on algae as an alternative jet fuel and has invested a chunk of his personal fortune in its development.

    Sir Richard has joined Unilever in investing in Solazyme as the industrial bio-tech company raised $US60 million in equity funding to develop oil-based products for use in goods ranging from biofuels to cosmetics and foods.

    Sir Richard has invested in Solazyme's financing in a personal capacity.

    His stake in the Californian company complements Virgin Group investments through the Virgin Green Fund in the renewable energy and resource efficiency sectors.

    "Sustainable renewable oils and biofuels will play an important role in our future," Sir Richard said.

    "We have made a number of investments in these emerging fields over the last four years and I'm excited about Solazyme's potential to make oils for fuels, chemicals and foods at scale."

    So, Richard Branson puts oil for fuel first followed by chemicals and foods. Note.



    For Unilever, whose products range from Magnum ice cream to Dove soap, the investment is part of a wider process to find alternatives to core ingredients such as palm oil.

    Solazyme's technology allows algae to produce oil and biomaterials in standard industrial fermentation vats quickly and in bulk.

    What i dont understand here is how can any batch process be quick ?

    By selecting and combining different strands of single-cell organisms, or microalgae, it is able to tailor-make a wide range of oils for different purposes, its chief financial officer told The Times.

    This is something that amazes me no end !

    "We can find strands that are capable of making oils that our partners are interested in and we can use the same equipment for all of it," Tyler Painter said.

    "We are a 100-person company. Our core is to provide one technology platform that can be leveraged across a number of markets."

    Phil Giesler, innovation director at Unilever Corporate Ventures, said that the group has been working closely with Solazyme for two years. "This investment will help us to broaden our partnership in new application areas," he said, adding that it would "contribute to Unilever's supply options".

    Solazyme, founded in 2003, has raised a total of $US150m from venture capital partners and equity investors. While its algal ingredients for organisations such as Unilever are unlikely to be rolled out in products for several years, Mr Painter said that Solazyme already supplied Golden Chlorella, a biomass powder supplying fibre and nutrients, for use in products sold in health food stores.

    He added: "We are launching an anti-ageing cream with a large cosmetic partner. Algae have developed many different oils to protect themselves from very harsh environments. We have had great clinical trial results."

    The company is also working with Chevron, the oil group, and the US military to develop sustainable fuels.

    Other strategic investors in its latest financing round include Bunge, a global agribusiness and food company, and San-Ei Gen, a leading Japanese manufacturer of food ingredients.

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  • Shankar wrote:
    Thu September 09 2010 02:55:52 AM

    Any idea, how much has Unilever invested in
    Solazyme !?

    Over all, it now seems clear whether oil comes out of algae or cosmetics comes out of algae, Solazyme is coming out with an IPO, soon.

    We dont know how much has Bunge has invested. We dont know how much Unilever has invested. But we do know that they are partnering. Typical set up for an IPO.

    I am not for a moment decrying Solazymes efforts.
    If nothing else Solazyme is the only company which has produced large quantities of algae oil. Whatever the cost be !

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  • Shankar wrote:
    Thu September 09 2010 03:07:58 AM

    Richard Spyros !? Alan !?


    Are u there !
    HOw can any batch process scale to PUMP quantity ?

    Vote Up! 1 Vote Down! 0

  • Shankar wrote:
    Sun September 12 2010 10:23:13 AM

    Latest news ! Not yet confirmed.
    It appears Unilever is investing $ 1 m in solazyme.

    Vote Up! 2 Vote Down! 0

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