Amyris to Partner with Three Sugar and Ethanol Producers in Brazil for Manufacture of Renewable Chemicals and Fuels
Amyris Brasil, a wholly owned subsidiary of synthetic biology company Amyris Biotechnologies, Inc. has entered into letter of intent agreements with three sugar and ethanol producers in Brazil—Bunge Limited, Cosan and Açúcar Guarani with the purpose of partnering for the production of high value renewable specialty chemicals and fuels. These products will be distributed by Amyris.
On 3 December Amyris announced that it had entered into an agreement with the São Martinho Group to acquire a 40% stake in the Boa Vista mill and that together the parties would convert this mill to achieve the first production of Amyris products. (Earlier post.)
Under the agreement with Guarani, a subsidiary of the French sugar group Tereos, the parties will investigate the feasibility of developing an optimal economical model using Amyris technology to produce cane-derived diesel fuel from molasses rather than from traditional sugar cane juice. This agreement is part of Tereos’s regular partnerships to develop new technologies in its field.
Amyris intends to bring its renewable fuels and chemicals to market starting in 2011 through production at the Boa Vista mill. Starting between the 2012 and 2013 crushing season, Amyris intends to build production through “capital-light” agreements in which Amyris provides technology and plant design and mill owners contribute capital to convert their mills to produce Amyris renewable products. The letter of intent agreements with Bunge, Cosan and Guarani should cover Amyris’s planned production through 2013-2014. Combined with the Boa Vista mill, this results in a combined crushing capacity of more than 12 million tons.
Amyris’s initial products from its engineered microorganisms include a renewable drop-in diesel fuel with performance properties that equal or exceed those of petroleum-sourced fuels and currently available biofuels. In addition to diesel, Amyris expects to produce renewable chemicals for a variety of consumer products and industrial applications currently dependent on petrochemical components.
Embraer, General Electric, and Amyris Biotechnologies also recently 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. (Earlier post.)
With current crushing capacity of about 60 million tons per year, Cosan is the largest company in the Brazilian sugar and ethanol market, and one of the largest manufacturers, retailers and exporters of sugar and ethanol in the world.
Açúcar Guarani’s core activity is transforming sugarcane into sugar, ethanol and energy. Açúcar Guarani is the third-largest sugarcane processor and sugar producer in Brazil, and is one of the companies that recorded the strongest growth in ethanol production in the past two crops, processing 14.4 million tons of sugarcane in the 2008-2009 crop.
Tereos, the controlling shareholder of Guarani, is an agribusiness cooperative producing sugar and alcohol-ethanol from sugar beet, sugarcane and cereals in France and worldwide. Tereos is the world’s fourth-largest producer of sugar, alcohol-ethanol and starch products.