Reflecting Back and Looking Ahead: The Amyris Impact
Amyris’ newest precision fermentation plant in Barra Bonita, Brazil has officially begun industrial production.
Amyris broke ground on the greenfield site at Barra Bonita in 2021 and quickly brought online one of the industry’s most advanced biomanufacturing facilities. The new facility features 1,440 cubic meters of production fermentation capacity and includes five self-contained lines (or mini factories) for diverse molecule production. As a result, Amyris can concurrently produce all 13 of its ingredients and the proprietary design of the facility allows for quick and seamless transitions from production of one molecule to another.
This new facility further cements Amyris’ leadership in the synthetic biology industry and continued expertise in bringing bio-based innovations to market at industrial scale. The Barra Bonita capacity is fully committed through the end of 2023 and the company expects this demand to remain strong for its sustainable and high-performance ingredients.
Eduardo Alvarez, Amyris Chief Operating Officer, sheds light on the latest updates on the plant and its impact for Amyris in a recent conversation:
What effect will this new plant have on Amyris’ sustainability and ESG efforts?
“This new plant will bring about many benefits for Amyris, but the environmental impact is likely to be the most significant of all. The new site will allow us to produce and finish products all within the same location, which greatly cuts down our carbon footprint associated with shipping ingredients across the world during the production process. Additionally, the new plant is strategically located next to the Raízen sugar mill – one of the largest sugar mills in the world – to ensure a local, consistent, and sustainable feedstock supply that is Bonsucro certified. Further, electricity for the site is sustainably generated and we intend to use BioGas to further offset emissions in 2024.”
What differences will Amyris partners and customers experience as a result of this new plant?
“The Barra Bonita plant greatly reduces our production timelines, as we now have full control over our supply chains – an issue we’ve seen every industry struggle with recently. We anticipate faster times to market and reduced complications when moving from pilot to manufacturing scale. This has huge potential for the scale and speed at which we manufacture our existing products, bring new innovations to market, and support our partners’ goals. Further, we believe this will also move the goalposts for the industry and raise the bar for what’s possible with synthetic biology. As one of the few companies with our own pilot plant facility, we’ve long believed that investing in owned, in-house facilities is the best route for rapid, seamless, and effective biomanufacturing at scale, so it marks a major milestone for us to begin production in our own manufacturing facility in Barra Bonita.”
How will the local region and community be impacted by this new plant?
“Barra Bonita is home to the world’s second largest sugar mill and with sugarcane as our feedstock source, we have established long-standing relationships with many of the local organizations, including Raízen and Bonsucro. These continued partnerships have given us unique insights into the local community and offered an important means for supporting people and protecting the land. As a result of our leadership in biotechnology and next-generation fermentation, Amyris has become one of the top employers in the region for offering leading-edge jobs and competitive pay. Throughout the construction process, we employed up to 1,000 contractors and we plan to employ around 150 employees as full-time staff for the site, as well as about 100 employees from Campinas to support operations. We hope to continue supporting sustainable and responsible growth in Barra Bonita and throughout Brazil and are grateful for the opportunity to expand our business in this incredible part of the world.”
Read more about the key features of the plant on the Amyris blog and follow along on Twitter and LinkedIn.