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Solazyme CEO Jonathan S. Wolfson to Receive the 2015 BIO George Washington Carver Award

May 20, 2015
In recent news, BIO has named Solazyme CEO and co-founder Jonathan S. Wolfson as the recipient of its 2015 George Washington Carver Award for innovation in industrial biotechnology.

George Washington Carver was one of the founding fathers of the chemurgy movement, a branch of applied chemistry focused on manufacturing industrial products from raw agricultural materials. Industrial biotechnology is the modern-day equivalent of Carver’s vision for chemurgy, and the award honors individuals for carrying on Carver’s legacy.
“I am truly honored to accept the 2015 George Washington Carver Award for Solazyme’s contribution to creating better, safer and healthier oils and ingredients for people and the Solazymeplanet,” said Wolfson. “For more than a decade, we have been working to solve some of the world’s biggest problems with one of its smallest and most ancient life forms: microalgae.
Innovation never rests, and we will continue to use
the tools of modern biotechnology to produce solutions that the world needs now more than ever.”

Wolfson will receive the award and give a brief talk at the upcoming BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology in July in Montreal, Canada. A special selection committee chose Wolfson for his vision to take one of the smallest organisms in the world – microalgae – and use it to revolutionize some of the biggest industries in the world. Solazyme’s revolutionary biotechnology platform enhances the oil-producing nature of microalgae at the cellular level to tailor-make amazing oil profiles that bring specific benefits to people and the planet.
“BIO is pleased to recognize Jonathan for his determination to provide innovative biotech solutions to some of today’s greatest challenges in energy, nutrition, personal care and industrials. Just like George Washington Carver, Jonathan wants others admin-ajaxto live better by having access to greener consumer products, healthier foods, better home and personal care products, and more sustainable, cheaper transportation fuel,” said Brent Erickson, Executive Vice President for BIO’s Industrial & Environmental Section.

The company’s sustainable algal oils can replace petroleum-based and other unsustainable oils widely used in many industries today. Solazyme’s algal oils have a lower carbon footprint than nearly all other oils– including fossil fuels, palm, palm kernel, and soybean. The company is able to turn plant-based sugars – like sucrose from sugar cane and dextrose from corn – into entirely new sources of healthy food ingredients in a matter of days.
“Jonathan S. Wolfson’s commitment to this industry matches that of George Washington Carver. The innovation he has demonstrated throughout his career makes him very worthy of the recognition attached to this award,” said Joe Hrdlicka, IEDA LogoExecutive Director of the Iowa Biotechnology Association and sponsor of this year’s award. 


Jonathan has positioned Solazyme to succeed across a variety of vertical industries – from skincare to food, from industrials to liquid fuels – with many of the world’s leading brands lining up to co-develop and purchase Solazyme oils, making the company first to market with algae-based ingredients for chemicals and biofuel.

In November of 2014, Solazyme was awarded the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge for its groundbreaking microalgae-based renewable oils and ingredients platform. This was the first time that an algae company has been recognized for this honor.

A graduate of New York University (NYU) School of Law and Stern School of Business, Jonathan recognizes the value of education in propelling biotechnology innovation. In his tenure at Solazyme, he has overseen the filing of the company’s 300-plus technology patents.

The 2015 World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology will be held July 19-22, 2015 at the Palais des congrès de Montréal in Montréal, Canada.

All programs at the World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology are open to attendance by members of the media. Complimentary media registration is available to editors and reporters working full time for print, broadcast or web publications with valid press credentials.

For more information on the conference, please visit For assistance, please contact Industrial Biotechnology (Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers) Journal is the official publication for the BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology.