CLERMONT-FERRAND, France — Brazilian petrochemical producer Braskem S.A. is joining a collaboration researching sustainable sources for polyisoprene that was started in 2011 by Group Michelin and Amyris Inc.
Sao Paulo-based Braskem, considered the largest petrochemical company in the Americas, will help the partnership develop a technology to utilise plant sugars, such as those found in Brazilian sugarcane or cellulosic feedstocks, Michelin said.
Michelin and Emeryville, Calif.-based Amyris agreed in 2011 to work together to develop technology for producing isoprene, the chemical building block in rubber for tires, from renewable feedstocks.
More specifically, Michelin and Amyris agreed to contribute funding and technical resources to develop and commercialize Amyris' “No Compromise” technology to produce isoprene from renewable feedstocks.
Under the terms of the expanded agreement, Amyris will share its rights to commercialize the technology developed under this collaboration with Braskem, Michelin said.
The French tire maker said it will maintain certain preferential, but not exclusive, access to this technology. The companies are not disclosing details of the agreement, including the financial contributions of each party.
“Braskem's chemical industry experience, coupled with Amyris' biotechnology expertise, will support Michelin's goal of addressing the long-term needs of the tire industry for sustainable sourcing with renewable chemicals,” said Jean-Christophe Guerin, head of the materials division of Michelin,
“Amyris has led the way in producing long-chain hydrocarbon molecules via fermentation, from anti-malarial drug precursors to long-chain hydrocarbon molecules used in cosmetic emollients and even fuels,” said Amyris President and CEO John Melo. “Building on the success of this proven technology to produce tailored hydrocarbons, we are revolutionising the way products are made, one molecule at a time.”
Braskem, established in 2002 with the integration of six companies in the Brazilian chemical and petrochemical sector, did not comment.
The company describes itself as the largest producer of thermoplastic resins in the Americas, with more than 16 million met tons of products per year.