Amyris enters bio-base oil market

I tried to contact Amyris for one of my upcoming green chemistry article but unfortunately they seem to have a policy of not talking to media because of being a public company (???) Oh well, at least the green blog has plenty of materials to get from other sources…

Now this recent news from Amyris is pretty interesting since I used to cover a little bit of the base oil industry when I wrote articles for Chemical Market Reporter before on lubricants, greases and waxes. Amyris announced last week its collaboration with sugar ethanol producer Cosan to form a joint venture for the development, production and commercialization of farnesene-derived base oils.

Both companies would share the marketing and operating costs.

The renewable base oils are said to be biodegradable, can perform in cold weather and have high-performance viscosity properties. As I’ve said, I’ve covered paraffin waxes before, which is a byproduct of the Group 1 base oil production. Global paraffin wax supply has been tightening (and prices have been going up) because of the shrinking Group 1 base oil capacity worldwide as oil companies jump to Group II and III.

It’s probably safe to assume that the Amyris joint venture will not only venture into bio-lubricants market but in waxes as well especially if you consider the nice profitability of specialty waxes in cosmetics and personal care applications (think about Elevance and Dow Corning’s collaboration in cosmetic waxes…)

If you want to get updated information about the global base oil market, I suggest attending one of ICIS’ base oils conferences, where the last one – the ICIS Pan American Base Oils conference – was held in early December in New Jersey, US. The blog’s colleague Neil Burns, wrote a brief post on his blog about it when he attended the conference.

For ICIS news subscribers, here are some links on articles from the conference:

Mexico demand for Group II, III base oils grows – expert

Size beats age for performance of base-oil plants – US consultant

New Middle East plants to make Neste a global base oils player

Lubricant marketers must inventory all base oil groups – US expert

Brightstock, waxes save Group I base oil plants – US consultant

Base oil supply constraints for 2010 not over yet – market players

World base-oil demand recovers on restocking – US experts

US napthenic base oil prices rise on limited supply, tyre demand

Or if you have no clue about the base oil market in general, why not attend one of ICIS’ base oils training in London or in Houston? I probably need to do this as well…

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