Creates first fully dedicated facility for the production of Amyris Renewable Chemicals.
EMERYVILLE, CA [WorldofRenewables.com]
Amyris Biotechnologies, Inc., announced today that it has established a joint venture with Grupo São Martinho (SA: SMTO3), one of the largest sugar and ethanol producers in Brazil, to produce Amyris renewable products. The joint venture, SMA Indústria Química S.A., was created to build the first facility fully dedicated to the production of Amyris renewable products. The new company will be located at Usina São Martinho in Pradópolis, São Paolo state. Usina São Martinho is one of the largest processors of sugarcane in the world, having milled 8.1 million tons of sugarcane during the 2009/2010 harvest season.
Amyris plans to provide genetically engineered yeast to enable the joint venture to produce farnesene, a molecule which may be used as an ingredient in a wide range of consumer and industrial products, including detergents, cosmetics, perfumes and industrial lubricants. Under this agreement, Amyris has agreed that Grupo São Martinho may convert a second mill to produce Amyris products, and Amyris has entered into letters of intent agreements with three additional Brazilian sugar and ethanol producers: Bunge Limited, Cosan and Açúcar Guarani.
“The joint undertaking will produce renewable chemicals in an integrated chain beginning with the harvest of sugarcane and ending with the final product, drawing on the São Martinho Group’s expertise in the production of renewable carbon with the lowest cost in the sugar and energy sector,” said Fabio Venturelli, CEO of Grupo São Martinho.
“We are honored to establish this joint venture with the São Martinho Group at their famous São Martinho mill, in the heart of Brazil’s most established sugarcane producing region,” said John Melo, CEO of Amyris. “São Martinho is widely recognized as one of the most efficient and effective mill operators in the industry, and their decision to join forces is a significant event for us.”
In December 2009, the parties had announced their intention for Amyris to acquire a 40% stake in Usina Boa Vista, an ethanol-producing mill owned and operated by Grupo São Martinho. As the parties worked through the details for this partnership, they determined that a joint venture improved the outlook for achieving near-term production. They also determined that it would be optimal to locate the joint venture at the Usina São Martinho mill, which is located significantly closer to the Amyris Brasil facilities and has better access to the infrastructure and services needed to establish this dedicated production facility, including access to railway transportation to the Port of Santos.
Amyris is building an integrated renewable products company to apply industrial synthetic biology to genetically modify microorganisms, primarily yeast, to serve as living factories. These modified yeast strains convert plant-sourced sugars into potentially thousands of molecules, providing a broad range of renewable chemicals and transportation fuels. Amyris Brasil S.A., a subsidiary of Amyris, oversees the establishment and expansion of Amyris’s production in Brazil. In addition, Amyris is building fuels distribution capabilities in the United States through its subsidiary, Amyris Fuels, LLC. More information about Amyris and its subsidiaries is available at www.amyris.com or www.amyrisbrasil.com.
About Usina São Martinho
Usina São Martinho in Pradópolis is the largest processor of sugarcane in the world, milling approximately 8 million tons per harvest. Founded in 1948 and currently employing more than 4,000 people, the mill stands out as one of the most modern in Brazil – not only by size but also by advanced production processes in agricultural, industrial and preferred logistics.
About Grupo São Martinho
Grupo São Martinho, according to the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA), is among the largest sugar and ethanol producers in Brazil. São Martinho operates three plants: São Martinho in Pradópolis (region of Ribeirao Preto, Brazil), Iracema in Iracemápolis (region of Limeira, SP) and Boa Vista (Quirinópolis, 300km from Goiânia, GO), as well as a ribonucleic acid production facility (RNA sodium salt used primarily as a flavor enhancer in foods), the Omtek. The São Martinho Group harvested 12.9 million tons of sugarcane during the 2009/2010 crush season, resulting in about 702,000 tons of sugar, 594 million liters of ethanol and 158,000 MWh of electricity. In the same season, Usina São Martinho broke the record of grinding 8.1 million tons of sugarcane in a single unit, making it the largest sugarcane processing plant in the world.