Biofene, Amyris’s brand of a long-chain, branched hydrocarbon molecule called farnesene (trans-ß-farnesene), forms the basis for a wide range of products varying from specialty products such as cosmetics, perfumes, detergents and industrial lubricants, to transportation fuels such as diesel and jet fuel. Biofene provides a number of compelling advantages when compared to petroleum-based oils and chemicals. It is a tailor-made pure hydrocarbon and, unlike the world’s finite supply of petroleum, Biofene is renewable, contributing to a sustainable future.
Farnesene production begins with sugarcane grown in Brazil, which is fermented and uses yeast to convert the sugar feedstock into ethanol. The company engineers the yeast to convert the sugar into isoprenoids, including farnesene, which separates and is recovered from the fermented sugar. The farnesene is then “finished” to be used in a variety of different products. This is preferable to the previous sources of Farnesene which have primarily been controversial shark liver and the somewhat limited supply of olive oil.