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Total and Amyris Recommit to Biofuel Joint Venture

• Martin LaMonica via

Biotech company Amyris has secured a $30 million commitment this year from oil giant Total to expand fuel production from sugar cane.

Amyris yesterday announced that Total will budget $82 million over the next three years for further research and development around biofuels and the two companies intend to create a joint biofuel venture. It is an expansion of an existing partnership between the two companies to make fuels in Brazil. 

The investment, announced with Amyris quarterly earnings, puts Amyris more firmly on the biofuel track. Earlier this year, the company's operations in Brazil ran into snags making biofuels and scaled back production plans, (see "Why Amyris is Focusing on Moisturizers, Not Fuel, for Now".) 

The deal with Total "reaffirms" the companies' commitment to making renewable farnesene from sugar cane, which can be converted to diesel and jet fuel. "In addition to Amyris' continued development of jet and diesel businesses in Brazil independently, this enhanced collaboration provides a global platform for the future growth in fuels under a future joint venture with Total," Amyris CEO John Melo said in a statement.

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