Solazyme Transforming Cosmetics, Jet Fuel, and More with Algae Biofuel

You’d be amazed at how many products you can make with algae-based products. Solazyme, a green business started by two college friends, is a renewable energy and bioproducts company that has been making green waves in a variety of fields. They also recently launched an initial public offering of 10.97 million shares at $18 each, with plans to funnel the money raised into commercializing their algae biofuels, nutritional products, and personal care ingredients.

Algae in Anti-Aging Skincare Products

Algenist, Solazyme’s anti-aging skincare line, was recently launched to some startled reactions. What do algae biofuels have to do with getting rid of wrinkles? Well, apparently algae can provide protection against environmental conditions that contribute to signs of aging. Their main ingredient is Alguronic Acid which is a compound that is produced during the microalgae growth process on the way to making biofuels.

This compound is much more effective than the most commonly used anti-aging ingredient, hyaluronic acid, at increasing the elastin production in the human skin. It also helps protect against UV rays that cause cell damage and reduces melanin production, which also contributes to signs of aging. Their new line of products are now available in over 800 Sephora stores in the US and Europe starting March 24.

Algae for Food Products

But Solazyme doesn’t confine its work to just cosmetics. They are also involved in the food industry with a line of health care products.  Their algal flour, which is a dry form of the oil produced by their algae, is packed full of heart-healthy oils and high in fiber and protein. This flour is replacing eggs, oil, and butter in a variety of commercial products such as cookies, cakes, pastas, and breads. It may even make an appearance in ice cream and other beverages in the near future, with the added benefit of reducing fact up to 75% in some products.

Algae for Biofuels

Of course, the algae created by Solazyme is also used to create biofuels. Touted as a cost-effective alternative to petroleum fuels used b marine vehicles, jets, and even army machinery, these algae biofuels are “drop-in” replacements that can be substituted without any modifications to existing systems. These fuels are produced through a microbial process to create non-ethanol biofuels. In fact, they have even tested their renewable biodiesel on military and commercial vehicles and are working with companies like Chevron, UOP Honeywell, and more.

Trading on their public offering started out around $21 under the ticker SZYM, things are looking up. Companies like these create alternative products like food alternatives and cosmetics to make use of their products until their algae fuels become cost-competitive with petroleum fuels. But that could happen rather soon as oil reaches $100 per barrel.

The company recently won Company of the Year via Biofuels Digest. They’re definitely a green company to be watched.

Images Via Solazyme


This post was written by:

Maryruth Belsey Priebe

Maryruth has been seeking the keys to environmental justice - both at home and at work - for over a decade. Growing up adjacent to wild spaces, Maryruth developed a healthy respect (and whimsical appreciation) for things non-human, but her practical mind constantly draws her down to earth to ponder tangible solutions to complex eco-problems.

With interests that range from green living to green business, sustainable building designs to organic gardening practices, ecosystem restoration to environmental health, Maryruth has been exploring and writing about earth-matters for most of her life. Of special interest is the subject of ecopsychology and the role the natural world plays in the long-term health and well-being of humanity. You can learn more about Maryruth's work at

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