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Solazyme introduces solid lubricant from microalgae

Solazyme has introduced a solid lubricant, trademarked Soleum, during the Annual Meeting of the Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers (STLE) in Dallas, Texas, U.S.A., this week.

Made from microalgae, Soleum is a dry powder, each granule containing triglyceride oil. Soleum, which is currently in the product development phase, is meant to offer similar lubricity and friction-reduction as other dry lubricants, such as graphite and molybdenum disulfide.

Kathryn Lee, director of product marketing for industrials, explained that Solazyme sees metalworking as the main application for this product at first, but that it hopes to branch out to other applications later.

The main goal is to develop a sustainable, high-performance lubricant ingredient that reduces the amount of additives that a formulator would need to use in a formulation.

“This is brand new,” said Lee. “The next step is to work with folks in the value chain to find the right finished formulation.”

The formulation is currently water-based, but Lee said that Solazyme is also working on oil-based formulations as well.

“From this, we also have some derivatives,” she said, including an ester and an acid, in case customers want to start from a different building block.

Solazyme is headquartered in South San Francisco, Calif., U.S.A. Its main production facility is located in Moema, Brazil, which has a capacity of 100,000 metric tonnes per year.