Long-time collaborators Aquafil, based in Italy and Californian biotechnology company Genomatica, or ‘Geno’, have successfully completed the first demonstration scale production runs for plant-based PA 6.
The companies first joined forces in January 2020 to produce the world’s first ton of biobased nylon-6 precursor at pilot scale before entering into an agreement in November of that same year to build a demonstration scale facility at Aquafil’s Slovenian site to produce renewably-sourced PA 6. And in May 2022, Aquafil announced a further partnership with Geno to build a demo plant at this AquafilSLO (Ljubljana) facility to test the technical feasibility of producing bio-caprolactam, the most important intermediate for producing PA 6, on a pre-industrial scale, with the start-up scheduled for H1 2022.
“The world needs every possible approach put into action to make supply chains sustainable, and making bio-based nylon an essential piece of that,” said Giulio Bonazzi, Aquafil CEO.
The companies say they have now produced the first several tons of this plant-based caprolactam in Slovenia, converted this to PA 6 polymer, and are now in the process of transforming it for evaluation in nylon applications such as yarns for textile and carpet and engineering plastics.