e360 digest


10 May 2012: Lack of Profitability Drives
U.S. Company Out of Biofuels Business

A U.S.-based company that used genetic engineering to develop a technology to convert sugar into biofuel has announced that it will stop producing the fuel, at least temporarily, because the process simply isn’t profitable. Amyris, a San Francisco firm that also produces cosmetic products, had engineered a type of yeast that can eat sugar and secrete an oil similar to diesel. While the company had some success using this process in the production of biofuels, including for use by buses in Brazil, it achieved greater profits selling the chemicals for use in other products, such as moisturizers and fragrances, according to a report by MIT’s Technology Review. According to the report, the average selling price for the company’s products is about $7.70 per liter ($29 per gallon), which is far higher than the cost of petroleum-based diesel. And even the $7.70 price was propped up by the amount the company can earn by producing moisturizers. According to Amyris officials, the company will stop producing biodiesels by mid-year, but the firm remains interested in developing commercial-scale fuel plants in the future.


Yale
Yale Environment 360 is
a publication of the
Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies
.

SEARCH e360



Donate to Yale Environment 360
Yale Environment 360 Newsletter


CONNECT


ABOUT

About e360
Contact
Submission Guidelines
Reprints

E360 en Español

Universia partnership
Yale Environment 360 articles are now available in Spanish and Portuguese on Universia, the online educational network.
Visit the site.


DEPARTMENTS

Opinion
Reports
Analysis
Interviews
Forums
e360 Digest
Podcasts
Video Reports

TOPICS

Biodiversity
Business & Innovation
Climate
Energy
Forests
Oceans
Policy & Politics
Pollution & Health
Science & Technology
Sustainability
Urbanization
Water

REGIONS

Antarctica and the Arctic
Africa
Asia
Australia
Central & South America
Europe
Middle East
North America

e360 VIDEO

“video
A look at how acidifying oceans could threaten the Dungeness crab, one of the most valuable fisheries on the U.S. West Coast.
Watch the video.

e360 MOBILE

Mobile
The latest
from Yale
Environment 360
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile.

e360 PHOTO ESSAY

“Alaska
An aerial view of why Europe’s per capita carbon emissions are less than 50 percent of those in the U.S.
View the photos.

e360 VIDEO

“Ashaninka
An indigenous tribe’s deadly fight to save its ancestral land in the Amazon rainforest from logging.
Learn more.

e360 VIDEO

Food waste
An e360 video series looks at the staggering amount of food wasted in the U.S. – a problem with major human and environmental costs.
Watch the video.

e360 VIDEO

Choco rainforest Cacao
Residents of the Chocó Rainforest in Ecuador are choosing to plant cacao over logging in an effort to slow deforestation.
Watch the video.

e360 VIDEO

“video
Tribal people and ranchers join together to stop a project that would haul coal across their Montana land.
Watch the video.

OF INTEREST



Yale