By Katie Dahlstrom
Herald Staff Writer
A renewable energy and bioproducts company will be using the Archer Daniels Midland Company’s Clinton facilities to expand production.
Solazyme, a publicly traded company that uses microalgae to turn sugar into oil products plans to begin commercial production of 20,000 metric tons of tailored algal oils in 2014 at the Clinton ADM fermentation plant. They aim to increase production to 100,000 metric tons in subsequent years, a press release from the company said.
ADM stopped using the fermentation plant after ending its commercial alliance to produce biodegradable plastics with Metabolix, Inc. in January of this year. At that time, the company said it would be evaluating other commercially viable uses for the fermentation facilities.
“This agreement with Solazyme allows us to profitably redeploy a world-class manufacturing asset that was previously used for PHA production and has been idle since January 2012,” ADM senior vice president and president of corn, Mark Bemis, said in a press release issued by Solazyme.
ADM’s wet mill, which is adjacent to the fermentation plant, will initially provide dextrose for the fermentation. Steam and power will be delivered from ADM’s co-generation facility. The oils will be sold primarily to the industrial and nutritional markets in North America.
“Solazyme is excited to bring its renewable tailored oil technology to Clinton, and to rolling out the process within the ADM facility. It is currently anticipated that production would begin in early 2014, bringing with it a significantly increased level of activity at the site. Whilst its premature for us identify the number of jobs that will be created, we're quite certain that this project will bring new opportunities to the community in that timeframe, and indeed, preliminary benchmarking has already commenced,” a Solazyme spokesperson said.
According to Solazyme, retrofitting and permitting for the Clinton plant will begin immediately.