Busy Amyris this week

Last post for the day, I hope, as I have to write an article about Mitsubishi Chemical’s bio-chemicals strategies for ICIS Chemical Business’ August 15 issue.

This one is all about Amyris’ various activities this week. I must say I’m really impressed with their media relations department (and press agency) as the company churned out 4 press releases within two days.

First is the company’s announcement of a commissioning of its second industrial-scale Biofene facility this time in Leon, Spain, owned by Antibioticos S.A. Amyris is already producing its Biofene molecule in Piracicaba, Brazil, owned by Biomin do Brasil Nutricao Animal Ltda.

As usual no fermentation capacity was disclosed although according to Antibioticos’ website, which is one of the top penicillin producers in Europe, its Leon facility had 3.2m liter total fermentation capacity and 600,000 liter total chemical capacity.

Amyris currently has 5 production agreements in place worldwide including contract manufacturing with Antibioticos, Biomin, Paraiso Bioenergia Ltda., Tate & Lyle Ingredients Americas, and a joint venture with Brazilian sugar and ethanol producer Usina Sao Martinho.

Amyris has also established chemical finishing capabilities under a production agreement with Glycotech, Inc.

The second facility will definitely come in handy as according to Amyris, it has expanded its collaboration with Swiss company Firmenich for the development of a third ingredient targeting the flavors and fragrances market. Amyris said it has delivered the development of the first ingredient well ahead of schedule, and it expects to begin working on the second ingredient on schedule.

Don’t you just love the vagueness of their press releases?  ;-) . I remembered covering the essential oils market a long time ago and getting information from flavors and fragrances companies is like pulling teeth, very painful…

The companies did say that Amyris will manufacture and supply the ingredients to Firmenich, while Firmenich will handle the marketing and distribution exclusively to the flavors and fragrances market. Both parties will share the economic fruits of this collaboration.

Amyris also has a collaboration deal with another Swiss flavors and fragrance producer Givaudan, which the company announced in February. Givaudan is developing another derivative of Biofene as a building block for its fragrance ingredient. Givaudan expects to market and distribute the final product as early as 2012.

In terms of Amyris’ biofuel projects, the company announced last week that it will begin supplying renewable diesel (which they locally called Diesel do Cana) to 160 city buses in Sao Paulo, Brazil, starting August, and another 20 city buses in Rio de Janeiro for a 12-month fleet test.

The Sao Paulo buses will run on a blend of 10% renewable diesel with a supply contract ending in 2012. The renewable diesel for the Rio de Janeiro buses will be blended at a 30% rate with petroleum-based diesel.

Amyris also announced this week that Boeing, commercial jet manufacturer Embraer S.A., and the Inter-American Development Bank will jointly fund a sustainability analysis of producing renewable jet fuel (by Amyris) from Brazilian sugarcane. The study, scheduled for completion in early 2012, will be led by ICONE, a research think-tank in Brazil and independently reviewed by World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

The study will include a complete lifecycle analysis of the emissions associated with Amyris’s renewable jet fuel, including indirect land use change and effects. It will also include benchmarking of cane-derived renewable jet fuel against major sustainability standards, including the Bonsucro (formerly known as the Better Sugarcane initiative), the Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels and the IDB Biofuel Scorecard.

Speaking of Bonsucro, the European Commission announced last week that its certification on sustainable production of sugarcane has reportedly been recognized by the European Union along with seven other EU certification schemes for biofuels. The certification schemes are said to provide guarantees on the environmental sustainability of biofuels that will be used in 27 EU member states.

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