Volkswagen partners with Amyris and Solazyme to promote automotive use of renewable fuels

Volkswagen of America has announced partnerships with Solazyme and Amyris, two of the world's leaders in renewable fuels, to evaluate emissions reductions and demonstrate the performance of TDI Clean Diesel technology when powered by advanced biodiesel and renewable diesel fuel.

Under the respective agreements, Volkswagen will provide both companies with two products each—the new 2012 Passat TDI and 2012 Jetta TDI—in order to closely examine the effects that the fuels produced by Amyris and Solazyme will have on Volkswagen clean diesel technology and the environment. (Amyris converts plant-sourced sugars into renewable hydrocarbons for fuel and chemical applications; Solazyme has developed a technology that harnesses the oil-producing ability of microalgae to develop renewable oil products.) The 12-month evaluation period will equip Volkswagen engineers with valuable data that will aid in the ongoing enhancement of TDI Clean Diesel technology and help the brand to develop more efficient, cleaner burning diesel powertrains for future products.

"Partnering with two leaders in advanced biofuel technology supports Volkswagen's goal of offering a competitive suite of technologies that help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve fuel efficiency and fit the diverse needs of our customers," said Prof. Dr. Jurgen Leohold, Head of Volkswagen Group Research. "In order to achieve our long-term desire of bringing CO2-neutral mobility to the market, advanced gasoline and diesel engines—like TDI Clean Diesel technology—must play a major role; and renewable energies to power these advanced powertrains are needed on a large scale."

"Think Blue is not just a tagline, but a state of mind at Volkswagen and is the driving force behind our goal of bringing sustainable products, technologies and solutions to the market while reducing our collective environmental impact," said Tim Mahoney, Chief Product and Marketing Officer, Volkswagen of America. "Strategic partnerships with leading-edge companies like Solazyme and Amyris reinforce our ongoing commitment to producing a fleet of eco-conscious vehicles and will ensure VW's leadership position in the clean diesel space into the future."    

During the year-long evaluation, Volkswagen will measure the environmental impacts from the use of cleaner burning renewable diesel formulas. Initial analysis indicates that while advanced biofuels are comparable to standard diesel blends in terms of performance, there are tremendous opportunities to reduce vehicle emissions.

"Amyris' renewable diesel's proven superior cold weather performance, high cetane and comparable energy density to petroleum diesel have enabled us to obtain one of the highest blending registrations certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency," said Mario Portela, Chief Operating Officer, Amyris. "Our partnership with Volkswagen, like our work in Brazil, where nearly 200 buses are running on various blends of Amyris diesel, is another important milestone in expanding OEM acceptance by showing our fuels eliminate the performance challenges of first generation biofuels while still enabling significant reductions in greenhouse gas and tailpipe emissions."

"Volkswagen has continually been at the forefront of automotive innovation providing safe, quality, and environmentally sound vehicles to consumers," said Rogerio Manso, Chief Commercialization Officer, Solazyme. "Solazyme's 100 percent drop-in renewable diesel is compatible with existing infrastructure and vehicles, and provides the world-class engine manufacturer with an advanced diesel replacement that drives significant Greenhouse Gases (GHG) as well as ground-level emission reductions."

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