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14.10.2008

Brazil Votorantim invests in US biofuel co. Amyris

SAO PAULO, Oct 14 (Reuters) - The venture capital arm of Brazil's Votorantim Group, Votorantim Novos Negocios, said on Tuesday it is investing in the U.S.-based second generation biofuels company Amyris in Brazil.

"This investment is aimed at helping Amyris begin selling diesel produced from sugar cane in 2010," Votorantim said.

Votorantim Novos Negocios did not reveal the amount it invested in Amyris in Brazil.

Amyris said Votorantim Novos Negocios' general partner Fernando Reinach would be joining its board of directors.

This is not the first partnership that Amyris has formed in Brazil. The California-based company announced in April that it would form a joint venture with sugar and ethanol groups Crystalsev and Santelisa Vale to develop the first biodiesel from sugar cane.

Brazil already offers 100 percent cane ethanol fuel at over 30,000 filling stations nationally. It mandates a 25 percent ethanol blend in all gasoline and a 3 percent biodiesel blend in all commercial diesel.

Standard first generation biodiesel uses vegetable oils or animal fats as feedstock.

Amyris's technology permits the production of diesel, gasoline and even aviation fuel from sucrose derived from sugar cane, using much of the same infrastructure now in place to produce ethanol.

REUTERS