Biorefinery, Company initiatives, Investments, Press Release

Rivertop, Amyris expand capacities

These are late news but better late than never. It is refreshing to hear capacity expansion for renewable chemicals (even those that are just at pilot/demo scale) in the midst of low crude oil price environment.

RivertopRenewables LabMontana-based Rivertop Renewables announced that it has exceeded the nameplate capacity of its first commercial production facility during benchmark testing. At full capacity the plant, operated by DTI in Danville, Virginia, is now capable of producing more than 9 million dry pounds of sodium glucarate product per year, an increase of approximately 15% over original design projections.

The capacity at the DTI facility will allow Rivertop to expand sales of its existing products as well as provide customers quantities suitable for joint development and testing.  Rivertop said there are plans to build additional plants down the road.

Construction of Rivertop’s facility at DTI began in December of 2014 and the first commercial production runs of glucarate-based products began in August of 2015. Among the products being produced are Riose® detergent builder, a sugar-derived chelant that meets high performance standards and enables a lower total cost of formulation for dishwasher and laundry detergents, as well as Waterline™ corrosion inhibitors designed to be high-performing, low cost alternatives to phosphates and other chemistries for the water treatment industry.

Traditional pathways of producing glucaric, other sugar acids and their salts have reportedly been costly, energy intensive and environmentally challenging, relegating their use to pharmaceutical and nutraceutical applications. Rivertop said it has created an abundant and far more economical supply of glucarate products and other green chemicals and bioproducts.

Amyris said its current Brotas plant in Brazil has already sold out for 2017-2020 farnesene volume dedicated for flavors and fragrances, and therefore the company announced plans to expand the facility with construction expected to start in the second half of 2016.  Amyris is said to be in active discussions with current collaborators and partners to provide financing for the project.

Amryis said it has started shipping farnesene for commercial production of tires, adhesives, nutraceuticals and solvents during the fourth quarter of 2015.  These applications are expected to consume the full production of Brotas in 2016 and keep the plant capacity sold out through 2020, including the added capacity as a result of the dedicated flavors and fragrances industrial production unit.

The company also recently announced a five-year supply agreement of Biofene supply with a leading undisclosed global nutraceuticals company. Amyris is also entitled to a quarterly value-share arrangement of the sales of the customers’ product made from the purchased Biofene. Amyris expects total revenue from the five-year agreement to be more than $100 million.


About Doris de Guzman

Will Green Chemistry save the world or is it hype? Doris de Guzman examines alternative processing, new technology, R&D and other sustainability initiatives aimed at preventing pollution; replacing ingredients; and using renewable feedstocks in Green Chemistry. She has been covering the oleochemicals market for 15 years and spread her beat to inorganics, biofuels and green chemistry.


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