Amyris, Inc. and Total have formed Total Amyris BioSolutions B.V., a 50-50 joint venture that now holds exclusive rights and a license under Amyris’s intellectual property to produce and market renewable diesel and jet fuel from Amyris’s renewable farnesene. (Earlier post.) Total is Amyris’ largest investor, holding approximately 18% of its outstanding common stock, and is committed to the development of next-generation renewable fuels from biomass.
Amyris’ synthetic biology platform enables the modification of the genetic pathways of microorganisms, primarily yeast, to turn them into living factories to produce target molecules via fermentation. The primary biological pathway within the microbe Amyris currently uses to produce target molecules is the isoprenoid pathway.
Isoprenoids constitute a large, diverse class of organic chemicals with current product applications in a wide range of industries, including specialty chemicals and fuels. With this pathway, it can potentially produce thousands of different isoprenoid molecules.
This technology may help make it possible for producers to blend renewable hydrocarbons produced from sustainable biomass and organic waste into conventional fuel in significant proportions. Renewable fuels developed by TOTAL and Amyris may deliver energy density and engine performance comparable to the best petroleum fuels.
Amyris operates laboratories and a pilot plant in California as well as an industrial-scale facility located in the state of São Paulo, Brazil. Amyris has been and will continue supplying renewable fuels in Brazil, including diesel to over 300 public transit buses in large metropolitan areas. Amyris also plans to initiate sales of renewable jet fuel in Brazil once it achieves ASTM validation.
The joint-venture Total Amyris Biosolutions is a first step towards the commercialization of our renewable diesel and jet fuels. We are in the phase of scaling-up the industrial process and we expect to start commercialization within the next few years, once our joint research and development goals are met.—Philippe Boisseau, President, Marketing & Services and New Energies, and a member of Total’s Executive Committee