Albemarle to Make Base Oils from Biofene

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Albemarle Corp. said yesterday it will supply manufacturing services to aid a new joint venture as it scales up production of lubricating base stocks made from cane sugar. Albemarle will supply the base stocks to Novvi S.A. while it works to build a customer base for its farnesene business.

Novvi is a joint venture formed earlier this year by Amyris Inc., a U.S. developer of renewable chemicals technology, and Brazilian sugar company Cosan S.A. Industria e Comercio. The purpose of the joint venture is to use Amyris technology to turn sugar provided by Cosan into high-performance renewable base stocks.

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For the time being, Albemarle will use feedstock provided by Amyris to produce base stocks that will be marketed under the brand name NovaSpec. Albemarles role requires regulatory approval, but the company, which is based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, said it expects its production to take place at its Orangeburg, S.C., plant.

Novvi seeks to be a leading supplier of renewable base oils for high-performance lubricants with reduced environmental impact, Novvi Managing Director Lineu Moran said in a joint statement. Partnering with Albemarle for the scale-up and production of NovaSpec base oils reinforces our commitment to deliver to [the] lubricants market the highest quality synthetic, renewable base oils.

Albemarle already produces a variety of performance chemicals for the lubricants and other industries. Amyris, which is based in Emeryville, California, uses its industrial synthetic biology platform to convert plant sugars into a variety of hydrocarbon molecules – flexible building blocks that can be used in a wide range of products.

Cosan, headquartered in Sao Paolo, Brazil, is a conglomerate involved in production and sales of sugar and production and marketing of bioethanol.

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