Materials | 1 MINUTE READ

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.

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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.

Genomatica and Aquafil Deal will scale up production of 100% renewable nylon 6

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.

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