Amyris, Inc., based in Emeryville, Calif., U.S.A., and the Government of Queensland, Australia announced their plans to develop a leading industrial biotechnology hub in Southeast Asia. Plans call for developing a new production plant with support from local partners to produce Amyris’s sugar cane-based ingredient called farnesene, which is used in products including cosmetic emollients, fragrances, nutraceuticals, polymers, and lubricants.
Acceleration of this project, which was first announced on December 6, 2016, came out of the Queensland Government’s Biofutures Acceleration Program that offers support to companies to build commercial-scale biorefineries in regional Queensland.
Amyris was chosen based on its legacy expertise in operating such production facilities.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the interest by Amyris was welcome.
“Amyris is seeking to replicate its successful biorefinery in Brazil and sees Queensland as an ideal location due to the abundance of sugarcane and close proximity to Asia,” Palaszczuk said.
“The company’s proposed biorefinery would aim to produce 23,000 tonnes a year of a sugar cane-based ingredient called farnesene which is used in a range of products, including cosmetics, fragrances, nutraceuticals, polymers and lubricants.”
“The Queensland Government’s funding and support for biorefinery projects will create high-value jobs and investment in regional Queensland by using renewable feedstocks to create biofuel and other bioproducts.”
“We are very pleased with the commitment of the Queensland Government to be leaders of the bioeconomy,” said John Melo, Amyris president & CEO. “Our growing demand in China for vitamins and the Asian demand for cosmetics and fragrances supports a new specialty farnesene fermentation factory in Queensland. The funding from the Queensland government along with the operating expertise and sugar cane base of our local partner make this factory possible and enable savings from our current production in Brazil and the associated shipping costs. Like all our new projects, this factory is expected to be sold out when it starts operating with agreements to supply our current partners in China and other Asian markets. Queensland offers an excellent location option for Amyris with its favorable business climate, extensive sugar industry and geographic proximity to these markets.”
Amyris and the Government of Queensland have successfully partnered on a number of initiatives since 2010 designed to foster adoption of renewable product solutions targeting large global markets while also supporting the development of a Queensland-based biotechnology industry using feedstock from local sugarcane.