August 8, 2013
The oleochemical industry is definitely getting more and more interesting as erucic acid (C22:1), traditionally sourced from high erucic rapeseed oils (HERO), can now be sourced from algal oils as is the case with Solazyme's recent announcement.
I remember the old days when I used to cover this niche market for Chemical Market Reporter. The last time I had an update on HERO pricing was in 2006 when it was around 80 cents/lb, while in 2008, HE rapeseed contracts was around $9/bushel including freight incentives and buyer guarantees.
HERO contains around 48% erucic acid or more. Erucic acid is a key raw ingredient for the fatty amide erucamide, used mostly in plastic film application. Other end uses of erucic acid are found in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and personal care, and as additives in industrial lubricants and biofuels.
Solazyme said it has finalized commercial terms with Sasol Olefins and Surfactants GmbH for the supply of erucic acid algal oils for use in downstream derivatives such as behenyl alcohol. Sasol produces and sells C22 derivatives such as behenyl alcohol for use in markets such as paper, water treatment, personal care, lubricants, oil and gas, paints, inks, coatings and adhesives.