Providing a more sustainable polyamide value chain, made from plants instead of crude oil, biotechnology company Genomatica Inc., San Diego, CA/USA, and fiber manufacturer Aquafil SpA., Arco/Italy, are expanding their longstanding partnership. The 2 companies teamed up in January 2020 to produce the first ton of 100% renewable polyamide 6 (PA6) ever at pilot scale.
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 50 tons of bio-PA 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.
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 bio-based precursor to commercial-quality bio-PA 6 yarns, films and engineered plastics. The produced material will be used to develop renewably-sourced products, replacing traditional PA that generates upwards of 60 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually. Under this agreement, initial volumes of bio-PA ingredients will be available in the latter half of 2021.