Total, Amyris expand cooperation on renewable energy

Total SA and Amyris Inc. signed agreements to expand their current research and development partnership and to form a joint venture aimed at developing, producing, and commercializing a range of renewable fuels and products.

Total and Amyris agreed to expand their ongoing R&D collaboration to accelerate the deployment of Biofene, Amyris' renewable farnesene, a molecule produced from plant sugars. The firms plan to use Biofene in developing renewable diesel.

The firms’ R&D program aims to develop the necessary stages to bring the next generation renewable fuels to market at commercial scale. Total has committed to contribute $105 million in funding for an existing $180 million program.

Total and Amyris also have agreed to form a 50-50 JV company that will have exclusive rights to produce and market renewable diesel and jet fuel worldwide.

The JV, which plans to begin operations in first-quarter 2012, will also have nonexclusive rights to other renewable products such as drilling fluids, solvents, polymers, and specific biolubricants.

The agreement follows the signing of a memorandum of understanding last month by Amyris and ETH Bioenergia for the formation of a JV to produce Biofene.

Under the agreement, the venture would be able to access as much as 2 million tons of sugarcane crush capacity per year at one of ETH's greenfield mills in Brazil.

The venture will be controlled by ETH, and Amyris will have exclusive marketing rights for the Biofene produced at the facility.

By leveraging ETH's renowned skills on biomass production and industrial performance and Amyris' technology, the parties expect to be able to begin production by 2014.

The venture with ETH represents Amyris' sixth production agreement in Brazil, Europe, and the US.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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