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Genomatica Developing Bio-Based Processes for Nylon Intermediates

Nylon yarn | Image credit: Global Textiles

Sustainable chemical technology company Genomatica, which develops manufacturing processes using alternative feedstocks that enable its licensee partners to produce the world’s most widely-used chemicals a ‘better way,’ announced this morning that major nylon intermediates — including hexamethylenediamine, caprolactam and adipic acid (HMD, CPL and ADA) — are the focus of its third publicly disclosed development program. Genomatica is developing complete process technologies for the bio-based production of these intermediates to license to major firms in the nylon value chain. These three chemicals, with a total market of over $18 billion per year, are used primarily in the production of nylon 6 and nylon 6,6, also referred to as the polyamides PA 6 and PA 6,6.

Genomatica's bio-based processGenomatica is focused on developing bio-based processes that deliver the exact same chemicals as those made with petroleum-based feedstocks, along with better overall economics and greater sustainability. For nylon intermediates, Genomatica aims for its processes to provide viable alternatives to current processes while avoiding the price volatility or limited supply sources of current raw materials such as benzene or adiponitrile. The company says its technology also has the potential to avoid unwanted byproducts and waste streams characteristic of many current processes.

As with its butadiene program, Genomatica is inviting leaders in the nylon value chain to join as development partners for its nylon intermediates program. Development partners have the opportunity to engage throughout the program, influence priorities and gain early access to the resulting process technology. Genomatica believes that such access can provide important time-to-market and competitive advantage to program sponsors.

Genomatica’s nylon intermediates program follows commercialization of its GENO BDO™ process for producing butanediol (BDO), which has been licensed by BASF and Royal DSM, and strong progress with its butadiene program, which has gained over $100 million in industry support. Multiple large chemical firms have since publicly validated quality and/or described commercialization plans, including Invista, which in May introduced the first commercial offering of a bio-derived spandex for its LYCRA® brand.

Genomatica says development of commercial processes for nylon intermediates is expected to take several years, and follow a sequence of technical, partnership, scale-up and commercialization milestones.


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