Amyris preps biofuel production in Brazil

Summary:Biotech company Amyris has completed an industrial-scale facility for biofuels production in Brazil.

Renewable chemical company Amyris on Friday announced the completion of an industrial-scale facility for biofuels production in Brazil.

The plant, located in Piracicaba, São Paulo, Brazil, will be used to manufacture the renewable chemical farnesene, which it calls Biofene.

To produce Biofene, Amyris feeds sugar cane syrup into three dedicated 200,000 liter fermentors containing proprietary yeast, which then digests the syrup feedstock and produces farnesene. The chemical is separated, purified and either sold directly for industrial applications or, after a few more chemical finishing steps, used to create renewable products such as cosmetics ingredient squalane, base oil, lubricants and diesel.

After extensive testing in demonstration facilities and pilot plants, Amyris says it's ready for production at full industrial scale. The facility is owned by animal nutrition company Biomin do Brasil Nutriҫão Animal; Amyris will operate it.

Amyris expects to begin production in May.

"With this milestone, we are demonstrating that engineered yeast may be used to produce high-value hydrocarbon molecules on a commercial scale," chief executive John Melo said in a statement.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

Topics: Innovation

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Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. He is also the former editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation. He writes about business, technology and design now but used to cover finance, fashion and culture. He was an intern at Money, Men's Vogue, Popular Mechanics and the New York Daily Ne... Full Bio

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