Total looks deeper into renewable fuels

Dec. 1, 2011 at 8:01 AM

PARIS, Dec. 1 (UPI) -- French supermajor Total teamed with a microbiology company in California to explore methods to make renewable diesel fuel a viable product, they announced.

Total said it created a 50-50 joint venture with Amyris to expand research and development in a process used to convert sugars into diesel fuel through a molecule produced from plant sugars.

Amyris uses microorganisms to process sugars into renewable chemical and transportation fuel products. This way, Total explained, producers can blend renewable hydrocarbons derived from biomass and those derived from organic waste into a fuel that could exceed current regulatory standards in the European Union and elsewhere.

Philippe Boisseau, president of gas and power at Total, said the deal gives Total an edge in the renewable diesel market, which the French supermajor expects to double in the next decade.

Both companies will have exclusive rights to produce and market the fuel worldwide. Total commits the bulk of the financing for the $180 million program.

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