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Amyris to supply Rio de Janeiro buses with renewable diesel from sugarcane; 30% blend

Amyris Brasil Ltda., a subsidiary of Amyris, Inc., will supply renewable diesel during a 12-month fleet test involving 20 city buses in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Earlier this month, Amyris announced it will supply 160 city buses in São Paulo with Amyris renewable diesel for use in a 10% blend. (Earlier post.)

The renewable fuel derived from sugarcane, known locally as Diesel de Cana, will be blended at a 30% rate with petroleum-derived diesel and used in Mercedes-Benz buses operated by Viação Saens Peña, a Rio-based bus operator. The Rio transportation federation, FETRANSPOR, will use the data collected during this fleet test to evaluate the engine and environmental benefits of Amyris’s renewable diesel.

The results of the fleet test will be presented at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) taking place in Rio in June 2012.

We are thrilled to expand the use of our renewable diesel to Brazil’s second-largest city. This will be the first large-scale use of our Diesel de Cana at a blend of 30 percent in Brazil. We continue to see strong demand for our renewable fuels, particularly as more engine suppliers and transport operators validate their performance.

—John Melo, CEO of Amyris

The city of Rio de Janeiro has more than 8,000 buses consuming about 280 million liters of diesel per year. The Rio fleet test is expected to validate the reduction of NOx and particulate matter emissions evidenced in recent Mercedes-Benz engine tests with a 30% blend of Amyris’s renewable diesel.

Amyris has developed a pure hydrocarbon renewable diesel fuel derived from plant-based sugars that does not require engine or infrastructure modifications. Amyris’s renewable diesel’s has shown superior cold weather performance, high cetane and comparable energy density to petroleum diesel, enabling it to obtain the highest blending registration by the US Environmental Protection Agency.



Is that good or bad news? Will sugar (and other food stock using sugar) price go up again?


Farnesene is a rather complex molecule. I wonder how it's produced from cane, and what precursor parts (sugar or cellulose) are used.



Amyris develops a synthetic biology approach and is linked to Jay Keasling (, a researcher whose previous work includes the successful development of artemisinin, a anti-malaria drug, made in a similar way.

There are presentations and panels on this from "The Berkeley Labs" ( on Youtube, and there is a new lab JBEI, you might be interested about.

They propose making high quality and value chemicals, diesel, jet-fuel, etc. "easily" from farnesene, while using sugars in a similar way to yeast, with the added benefit of using less energy to "dry" the farnesene (as compared to ethanol).

Those first industrial POCs are being located in partner´s proven low cost biomass/sugar plants already in use to minimize cost and risk.

They are producing valuable zero-sulfur diesel when it´s increasingly difficult to reach the S50 blend which is being adopted in Brazil now. (We´re late to adopt a mitigated equivalent to Euro V - Proconve P7 - because low sulfur diesel was not available. Delayed upgrading to refineries to remove sulfur ...)

No word on the process efficiency or cost, AFAIK.

Please try to get knowledge on what you so often state, cause most of the time you´re wrong and, knowingly or not, repeating FUD! Sure there has to be limits to use land, water, etc. So what ?

It is good news. One more milestone in developing and testing each of the possible pathways in BTL, that solves some real problems, and defining which ones are valuable to be scaled.

Even if BTL might not be scalable to all the world (or american) needs, it is still valuable. Anyway, a big part of the demand will be shifted to other primary sources through electrification over time.

Aviation and long distance traveling will still use liquid fuels for a long time, oil derived or synthetic, as they are the most convenient carriers of energy for those applications.

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