Mitsui & Co., Ltd. and Solazyme, Inc. have entered into approximately US$20 million multi-year agreement to jointly develop high-value tailored algal oils on February 6, 2013. Under this Joint Development Agreement, Mitsui expects to establish new technology to produce a new suite of high-value tailored oils from microalgae.
High-value oils are mainly used in lubricant additives and plastic additives and are conventionally extracted from natural plants, such as palm and coconut. There are supply limitations caused by both regional oil production and constraints in the profiles of conventional oils. This product development allows us to produce tailored-oils that are in demand in the marketplace. Mitsui looks forward to supplying these high-value algal oils stably for applications for which demand is expected to increase.
Solazyme, Inc. has unique, cutting-edge biotechnology with which it has successfully commercialized production of algal oils for applications of fuels and cosmetics and Solazyme is focused on strengthening its products into Chemical application.
For a sustainable future, Mitsui is trying to establish a green chemicals value chain that will contribute to reducing environment loads by utilizing biomass resources, such as sugar, starches and oils & fats, on top of fossil resources, such as crude oil and natural gas.
After achieving commercial success in producing high-value oils, Mitsui looks forward to strengthening its position in the oleochemical industry (its share of the crude raw materials market is estimated at US$22 billion) through the successful development and commercialization of these novel products as a potential source of new sustainable materials to oleochemical companies including Mitsui’s subsidiary, Palm-Oleo Sdn.Bhd.
In October 2012, Mitsui established new rules to enhance the creation of next-generation business from a long-term perspective. These rules set investment criteria that are different from standard ones, and the project with Solazyme is the first one implemented under the new rules.