Opel Revamping Corsa for 2010; Better Performance, Lower Fuel Consumption and CO2 Emissions
North American Debuts for Mercedes-Benz E350 BlueTEC, F-Cell at LA Auto show

Embraer, GE, Azul and Amyris in Renewable Jet Fuel Evaluation Project

Amyris engineers microbes to convert sugar to hydrocarbon fuels. Micrograph of fermentation fluids from production of Amyris Renewable Diesel (Nov 2007). Source: Amyris. Click to enlarge.

Embraer, General Electric, and Amyris Biotechnologies, a synthetic biology company focused on developing renewable hydrocarbon biofuels (earlier post) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to evaluate the technical and sustainability aspects of Amyris’ No Compromise renewable jet fuel. The initiative can culminate in a demo flight, by early 2012, of an Embraer E-Jet using GE engines and belonging to Azul Linhas Aéreas.

This collaboration combines industry leadership in airframe and engine manufacturing, a new and committed airline, and next-generation jet fuel development and production. The goal is to accelerate the introduction of a renewable jet fuel that could significantly lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and provide a long-term sustainable alternative to petroleum-derived jet fuel.

Amyris applies synthetic biology to alter the metabolic pathways of microorganisms to engineer “living factories” that transform sugar into any one of 50,000 different molecules used in a wide variety of energy, pharmaceutical and chemical applications. Amyris has proven this technology through the delivery of its first successful commercial scale technologies to sanofi-aventis for the production of artemisinin, a low cost anti-malarial drug.

renewable diesel fuel, making it the first time a hydrocarbon-based fuel made from plant-derived resources (earlier post) has been registered for commercial sale. (Earlier post.)

Earlier in 2009, Amyris completed its first successful demonstration drive using Amyris renewable diesel. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has also officially registered Amyris’s renewable diesel fuel, the first time a hydrocarbon-based fuel made from plant-derived resources. (Earlier post.)

Amyris’ renewable jet fuel is a promising alternative to the conventional petroleum-derived jet fuel. It is made from existing sugar cane feedstock, and is positioned to bring supply security, renewable content, price stability, and significant reductions in GHG emissions to the jet fuel pool.

The new fuel has already undergone previous testing conducted by the US Air Force Research Laboratory, Southwest Research Institute, GE Aviation, and other industry participants.

The Brazilian government (via Financiadora de Estudos e Projetos – FINEP) is already contributing funding to Amyris’ renewable jet fuel development program. Brazil has the world’s largest crop of sugar cane and associated expertise in ethanol production, which constitutes important leverage for developing Amyris renewable jet fuel.


  • Amyris presentation at Fifth Annual World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology & Bioprocessing, 2008



Great to see more biofuels research for aerospace. This seems to be a good time to discuss downsizing EPA in the move forward toward renewable energy. EPA has been replicating itself for the past thirty years and more to its present unwieldy size.

A downsized EPA would address issues of government debt and streamline processes necessary to transition quickly out of fossil fuels and into renewables. The primary function of EPA should be to assure the quality of the air, water and ground (soil.) Until a fuel or substance enters one of those three areas - it should be off limits to EPA regulation. This returns most of the oversight for fuels to DoE where it belongs.

A new piece of legislation should be introduced requiring reproduceable data from multiple independent sources over a sufficiently long period of time as to meet standards of the scientific method - prior to EPA seeking to regulate GHGs. It should be able to demonstrate in the same manner that actions taken by regulation will lead to measurable improvement in the quality of a substance (air, water, earth) and that such improvement positively impacts the environmental quality of life.

The comments to this entry are closed.