The plant, located in Piracicaba, São Paulo, Brazil, will be used to manufacture the renewable chemical farnesene, which it calls Biofene.
To produce Biofene, Amyris feeds sugar cane syrup into three dedicated 200,000 liter fermentors containing proprietary yeast, which then digests the syrup feedstock and produces farnesene. The chemical is separated, purified and either sold directly for industrial applications or, after a few more chemical finishing steps, used to create renewable products such as cosmetics ingredient squalane, base oil, lubricants and diesel.
After extensive testing in demonstration facilities and pilot plants, Amyris says it’s ready for production at full industrial scale. The facility is owned by animal nutrition company Biomin do Brasil Nutriҫão Animal; Amyris will operate it.
Amyris expects to begin production in May.
“With this milestone, we are demonstrating that engineered yeast may be used to produce high-value hydrocarbon molecules on a commercial scale,” chief executive John Melo said in a statement.