Genomatica to Scaleup Bio-Nylon 6 by 50-Fold with Aquafil to Meet Surging Brand Demand
Biotechnology firm Genomatica teams up with Italy’s nylon 6 fiber producer Aquafil to build demonstration scale renewable nylon 6 facility.
What is reportedly a first-of-its-kind multiyear deal has been signed by San Diego-based biotechnology company Genomatica and Italy’s nylon 6 fiber producer Aquafil (U.S. office in Cartersville, Ga.) to build a demonstration scale facility to produce the largest ever quantity of 100% renewable nylon 6. The deal entails a 50-fold expansion over previous production levels and represents significant acceleration toward commercializing renewably-sourced nylon-6.
Genomatica and Aquafil will work together to implement and refine their respective technology contributions through this demonstration program and create large quantities of bio-nylon. Aquafil will build and operate the downstream operations of this large-scale demonstration plant at its facility in Slovenia, where it will convert Genomatica’s biobased precursor to commercial-quality bio-nylon-6 yarns, films and engineered plastics. The produced material will be used to develop renewably-sourced products, replacing traditional nylon that generates upwards of 32 billion/lbs of greenhouse gas emissions annually. Under this agreement, initial volumes of bio-nylon ingredients will be available in the latter half of 2021.
The two companies teamed up in January 2020 to produce the world’s first 2000 lbs of bio-nylon 6 precursor in a pilot plant. Relying on their expertise in scaling up renewably-sourced chemicals, Genomatica and Aquafil are moving directly to a larger-than-typical demonstration scale to support initial commercial applications by committed brand partners. The first production runs are slated to create 100,000 lbs of bio-nylon 6 for pre-commercial use by Genomatica’s brand partners, with the demonstration plant to continue supporting product needs until commercial scale plants are in operation.
Said Genomatica CEO Christophe Schilling, “Bio-nylon is positioned to replace a material that’s used in millions of applications every day. Our research shows that despite health and economic turmoil, 56% of Americans still want brands to prioritize sustainability. With this scale, Genomatica is offering our brand partners a key way to meet their sustainability objectives, differentiate themselves, and meet surging consumer demand.”
Genomatica’s technology to make bio-nylon precursor was recognized in TIME’s Best Inventions for 2019 and the company’s technologies have won the prestigious EPA Green Chemistry Challenge Award three times.
Though often criticized, MFR is a very good gauge of the relative average molecular weight of the polymer. Since molecular weight (MW) is the driving force behind performance in polymers, it turns out to be a very useful number.
Extruded decking still drives the embryonic wood-filled plastics market. But injection and compression molded wood composites are coming on strong, and extruded profiles are moving toward more complex millwork shapes.
The U.S. is catching up with Europe and Asia in exploring the potential of biodegradable polyesters in flexible and rigid packaging. Because of their cost, these resins often find use in blends with other degradable materials.