Emeryville, California – California-based Amryis Biotechnologies has announced that it has opened its first pilot plant to produce its “No Compromise” renewable diesel fuel. The plant, which was completed in September, marks a milestone in Amyris’ goal to develop and commercialize its sustainable, hydrocarbon-based fuel, which it expects to bring to market in 2010.
The plant serves as a technical gateway to commercialization in Brazil and other manufacturing locations, and will demonstrate Amyris’ technology in scaled-down process equipment that is representative of full commercial scale operations. The “No Compromise” diesel is designed to be a scalable, low-cost renewable fuel with performance attributes that equal or exceed those of petroleum-sourced fuels and currently available biofuels. Preliminary analyses show that it has virtually no sulfur, significantly reduced NOx, particulate, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon exhaust emissions relative to petroleum-sourced diesel, it can be blended with petroleum diesel at rates up to 50 per cent, compared with 10 to 20 per cent for conventional biodiesel and ethanol, and it can be produced from a broad range of feedstock, including sugar cane and cellulosic biomass. The company said it will start with Brazilian sugar cane because it provides the most environmentally sound, economical and scalable source of energy currently available.
“This new diesel fuel has all the characteristics to make an important contribution toward solving our global transportation energy and climate crisis,” said John Melo, CEO of Amyris. “The opening of our pilot plant is a significant business marker for us, taking us one step closer to bringing our diesel fuel to market.”
In parallel with the California plant, Amyris will open a larger pilot plant in Campinas, Brazil in the spring of 2009, where it will finalize processes for Brazilian operations and transfer the technology to manufacturing sites in Brazil.