Amyris deepens biobased farnesene enterprise in Brazil

By Bryan Sims | October 25, 2011

Emeryville, Calif.-based Amyris Inc. is expanding its presence in Brazil through its Brazilian subsidiary Amyris Brasil S.A., which signed a joint venture production agreement with ETH Bioenergia, a leading producer of ethanol, electric energy and sugar to produce Biofene, Amyris’ biobased farnesene.

Under terms of the agreement, the joint venture will access up to 2 million tons of sugarcane crush capacity annually at one of ETH’s mills in Brazil. The joint venture will be controlled by ETH, and Amyris will have exclusive marketing rights for the Biofene produced at the facility. By leveraging ETH’s capabilities in biomass production and industrial performance and Amyris’ synthetic biology platform technology, the parties expect commercial production of Biofene to launch by 2014.

“ETH has been at the leading-edge of sugarcane ethanol production in Brazil and now, with our technology, Amyris will be able to market renewable products made from Biofene produced at one of ETH’s new mills,” said John Melo, CEO of Amyris. “Through this joint venture with ETH, and other agreements already announced in Brazil, Amyris now has access to 15 million tons of sugarcane crush capacity for our production.”

Amyris’ joint venture with ETH represents Amyris’ sixth production agreement at locations spanning three continents: Brazil in South America, Europe, and the U.S. in North America.

In July, Amyris Brasil announced it would begin supplying an expected 160 city buses in the Brazilian city of São Paulo beginning in August with renewable diesel derived from sugarcane, known locally as Diesel de Cana, to run on a blend of 10 percent Amyris renewable diesel with the balance made up of biodiesel and petroleum diesel supplied by Petrobras Distribuidora. The supply contract runs through the end of next year.