Eric Lichtenheld

CEO of Heliae

Eric has spent his career as a Chemical Engineer in operations, moving things from test tube scale into railcar-scale production volumes.  Over the last four decades, his expertise has been in high volume, low-cost manufacturing, turning operational challenges into new growth opportunities.  He has experience in North America and Asia's pharmaceutical, biotech, and consumer product industries.

Eric worked in the 1980s with the godfather of microalgal phototrophic raceway systems, Dr. William Oswald, building and operating the algae facility in Southern California that Exxon uses today to develop their biofuels program.  After leadership roles in ADM and Tate + Lyle, he returned to his roots in microalgae as CEO of the Mars Family-funded company Heliae in Phoenix, Arizona. 

Heliae is driven to find solutions to critical issues for the planet's survival, cleverly using classical strain development tools to manipulate secondary metabolic pathways, allowing phototrophic strains to grow in dark fermenters.  Microalgae produce proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids and are the best platform for the creation of next-gen food ingredients, reflected in our new food ingredient company, “The Algae Company”.  He also is a founding member of Heliae’s new SynBio partnership “Allagi Biotechnology”.

Eric has recently been collaborating with other innovative plant-based food companies as a member of the Google Food Alt Protein advisory group with the primary goal of increasing public acceptance of new plant-based foods.