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Amyris Opens Biofuel Demo Facility in Brazil

Fri, 06/26/2009 - 12:09pm

EMERYVILLE, Calif. & CAMPINAS, Brazil --(Business Wire)-- Jun 25, 2009 Amyris Brasil Pesquisa e Desenvolvimento, Ltda., a wholly owned subsidiary of Amyris Biotechnologies, Inc., today announced the opening of the Amyris Renewable Products Demonstration Facility in Campinas. The facility, located in the midst of the sugar cane processing industry, secures the final development step before full commercial production of Amyris’s renewable products.

The facility is the first of its kind in Brazil, and is designed to execute in-country scale-up, demonstration and optimization of all Amyris fuels and chemicals manufacturing processes. Amyris produces these renewable products by applying its proprietary synthetic biology technology to convert Brazilian sugar cane into a range of high value renewable fuels and chemicals.

The Amyris Renewable Products Demonstration Facility includes both pilot plant and demonstration scale operations, and complements the pilot plants that Amyris opened in Emeryville, Calif. in 2008 and in Campinas earlier this year. Amyris now has fully integrated capabilities to move technology from lab to pilot to demonstration and finally to commercial scale, with tested continuity of results throughout the chain. The new demonstration equipment allows for final validation of commercial equipment design and manufacturing processes, as well as the production of more than 10,000 gallons of Amyris products under conditions representing full-scale manufacturing. It also provides local training and technical support for new production facilities.

In addition, to achieve Amyris’s planned 2011 commercialization, Amyris has engaged a leading engineering, procurement and construction management (“EPCM”) firm, to oversee final design and construction of commercial production facilities. Amyris intends to leverage existing Brazilian cane industry infrastructure through the conversion of ethanol mills to produce higher value Amyris products.

“This facility represents a crucial step toward the commercialization of our fuels and chemicals,” said John Melo, Amyris Biotechnologies chief executive officer. “The stage is now set for the industry to enter a new era where pioneering technologies like Amyris’s will bring us significantly closer to reducing the world’s carbon footprint.”

Amyris intends to bring its renewable fuels and chemicals to market in 2011, initially through production in mills that Amyris expects to own or control. Thereafter, starting in 2012, Amyris intends to scale production by working with independent mill owners through “capital-light” agreements in which Amyris provides technology and plant design and mill owners convert their mills to produce Amyris renewable products. Amyris will then distribute and market these products to end customers.

“Amyris is setting the standard for the advancement of effective technologies,” said Fernando Reinach, a general partner with Votorantim Novos Negocios and a member of the Amyris Biotechnologies board of directors. “The new facility represents the intersection of the best of today’s renewable technologies with Brazil’s extensive resources, with promising implications for the Brazilian cane industry, our energy needs and the environment.”

Amyris’s initial products include a renewable diesel fuel with performance properties that equal or exceed those of petroleum-sourced fuels and currently available biofuels. A key attribute of the fuel is that it is a hydrocarbon – the same component found in today’s petroleum fuels – enabling it to be used in any kind of diesel engine and withstand extremely low temperatures without the need to alter engines. It can also be easily distributed within the existing fuels infrastructure. In addition to diesel, Amyris expects to produce renewable chemicals for a variety of consumer products and industrial applications currently dependent on petrochemical components.

Amyris applies synthetic biology to alter the metabolic pathways of microorganisms to engineer “living factories” that transform sugar into any one of 50,000 different molecules used in a wide variety of energy, pharmaceutical and chemical applications. Amyris has proven this technology through the delivery of its first successful commercial scale technologies to sanofi aventis for the production of artemisinin, a low cost anti-malarial drug.

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