Amyris, Inc., a renewable chemicals and fuels company, today announced the completion of the first industrial-scale facility for the production of Biofene, Amyris’s renewable farnesene. Biofene may then be sold directly into industrial applications or put through simple chemical finishing steps to form a broad range of renewable products including squalane, base oil and finished lubricants and diesel.
The production facility is located in Piracicaba, São Paulo, Brazil at a facility owned by Biomin do Brasil Nutrição Animal Ltda., a company focusing on animal nutrition. Amyris will operate the production facility and expects to begin Biofene production in May. To produce Biofene, Amyris feeds sugar cane syrup into three dedicated 200,000 liter fermentors containing Amyris proprietary yeast. The yeast digest the syrup feedstock and produce farnesene, which is then separated and purified.
To achieve production at full industrial scale, Amyris has developed an integrated scale-up process which connects ongoing advances in Amyris research with industrial-scale production. By miniaturizing process conditions found in production-scale fermentors, Amyris says it has been able to translate yeast performance successfully from discovery to production. Amyris further controls scale-up by testing performance in its pilot plant in Emeryville, Calif., followed by vetting in a second pilot plant and a demonstration facility in Amyris’s operations in Campinas, Brazil.
Earlier this year, Amyris tested its yeast strains and process in several runs at 100,000 and 200,000 liter scale and generated results that were consistent with previous runs at smaller scale.
With this milestone, we are demonstrating that engineered yeast may be used to produce high-value hydrocarbon molecules on a commercial scale. This achievement reinforces our goal of providing No Compromise renewable alternatives to petroleum to transform the chemicals industry, extend the world’s fuel supply and contribute to the betterment of our environment.—John Melo, CEO of Amyris
Amyris is scaling its production through contract agreements with manufacturers located in Brazil, Europe and the United States, and has five production agreements in place including contract agreements with Antibioticós S.A., Biomin, Paraíso Bioenergia S.A., Tate & Lyle Ingredients Americas, Inc., an affiliate of Tate & Lyle PLC, and a joint venture with Usina São Martinho S.A., one of the largest sugar and ethanol producers in Brazil. Amyris has also established finishing capabilities with Glycotech, Inc.