The synthetic diesel is called "No Compromise Fuel" and certified for use in cars up to a 35-percent blend. This blend level is the highest awarded to date by the EPA for commercial sale of a motor vehicle renewable gasoline or diesel fuel, according to the EPA fuel registration directory.
Amyris' synthetic diesel fuel is unrelated to biodiesel, which is made from vegetable or animal oil and saturated with alcohol. Amryis' fuel is made synthetically from crop materials such as sugarcane and sorghum, making it more similar in origin to ethanol than to traditional biodiesel, according to Consumer Reports.
Most automakers will not warranty engines running on more than small amounts of biodiesel, because they say the quality is inconsistent. The only vehicles certified to run blends of up to 20 percent biodiesel without voiding the warranty are heavy-duty trucks from Ford and General Motors.
Having a biodiesel substitute certified by the EPA is likely to help set a standard for other biodiesel producers to follow, Consumer Reports said.
Production of the Amyris's synthetic diesel was partially funded by the Department of Energy through an Integrated Bio-Refinery Program grant, which was awarded to Amyris in April 2010.