Embraer, General Electric, and Amyris announced the signing, today, of a Memorandum of Understanding to evaluate the technical and sustainability aspects of Amyris’ No Compromise™ renewable jet fuel. The initiative can culminate in a demo flight, by early 2012, of an Embraer E-Jet using GE engines and belonging to Azul Linhas Aéreas.
This collaboration combines industry leadership in airframe and engine manufacturing, a new and committed airline, and next-generation jet fuel development and production. The goal is to accelerate the introduction of a renewable jet fuel that could significantly lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and provide a long-term sustainable alternative to petroleum-derived jet fuel.
“Greening the skies is a rather complex subject and requires broad industry expertise and commitment,” says Frederico Fleury Curado, Embraer President & CEO. “The partnership with top-level players will certainly represent an important step towards this endeavor.”
Amyris’ renewable jet fuel is a promising alternative to the conventional petroleum-derived jet fuel. It is made from existing sugar cane feedstock, and is positioned to bring supply security, renewable content, price stability, and significant reductions in GHG emissions to the jet fuel pool. “This is a great innovating step by the airline industry in the fight against global warming,” says David Neeleman, Chairman of the Brazilian airline Azul.
The new fuel has already undergone previous testing conducted by the US Air Force Research Laboratory, Southwest Research Institute, GE Aviation, and other industry participants.
“GE is committed to develop and produce the most fuel efficient and environmentally friendly jet engines for the airlines, worldwide,” says Chuck Nugent, General Manager of GE Aviation Small Commercial Engines. “However, much additional work is required in other areas, in order to achieve greener skies. This partnership reinforces GE’s commitment.”
The Brazilian government (via Financiadora de Estudos e Projetos – FINEP) is already contributing funding to Amyris’ renewable jet fuel development program. Brazil has the world’s largest crop of sugar cane and associated expertise in ethanol production, which constitutes important leverage for developing Amyris renewable jet fuel.
Amyris produces its renewable fuel using the emerging science of synthetic biology. By altering the metabolic pathways of microorganisms, such as yeast, Amyris is able to engineer “living factories” that transform sugar into a range of renewable products, including diesel fuel, jet fuel, and performance chemicals.
“This is a landmark project for air travel,” said Amyris CEO John Melo. “It demonstrates that a united industry can usher in an era of cleaner air travel, while using sustainable resources.”
Embraer (Empresa Brasileira de Aeronáutica S.A. - NYSE: ERJ; BM&FBovespa: EMBR3) is the world’s largest manufacturer of commercial jets up to 120 seats, and one of Brazil’s leading exporters. Embraer’s headquarters are located in São José dos Campos, São Paulo, and it has offices, industrial operations and customer service facilities in Brazil, China, France, Portugal, Singapore, and the United States. Founded in 1969, the Company designs, develops, manufactures and sells aircraft for the commercial aviation, executive aviation, and defense segments. The Company also provides after sales support and services to customers worldwide. On September 30, 2009, Embraer (embraer.com) had a workforce of 16,986 employees – not counting the employees of its partly owned subsidiaries – and its firm order backlog totaled US$ 18.6 billion.
About Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras
Azul (www.voeazul.com.br) began flying on December 15, 2008, initially connecting Campinas (São Paulo) to Porto Alegre (Rio Grande do Sul) and to Salvador (Bahia) with daily nonstop flights. Today, the new airline connects 16 top Brazilian destinations. By the end of 2013, Azul will link 25 cities throughout the country. The company has the most modern fleet in the world, the only airline 100% formed by Brazilian jets – 12 Embraer EJets, seven of which are of the 190 model and five of the 195. Azul expects to end 2009 with 15 planes. In all, the company has ordered 36 E-Jets and has options for 40 more.
GE (NYSE: GE) is a diversified global infrastructure, finance and media company that is built to meet essential world needs. GE Aviation, an operating unit of General Electric Company, is a world-leading provider of jet engines, components and integrated systems for commercial and military aircraft. GE Aviation has a global service network to support these offerings. For more information, visit ge.com/aviation.
About Amyris Biotechnologies
Amyris (amyrisbiotech.com) is an integrated, renewable products company striving to help the world reduce its carbon footprint through the production and use of renewable chemicals and transportation fuels. Its strategy is to combine technology, production and distribution with the goal of commercializing and scaling products effectively, while participating across the supply chain. The company applies synthetic biology to produce a broad range of products, and combines this technology with growing scale up and production capabilities through its subsidiary Amyris Brasil. Amyris is also building distribution capabilities, including its U.S. subsidiary Amyris Fuels, LLC. Among the company’s clients are Kleiner Perkins, Khosla Ventures, The Texas Pacific Group, Votorantim, and Grupo Cornelio Brennand.