Long-time collaborators Aquafil Holding SpA, based in Italy, and California biotechnology company Genomatica (Geno) have successfully completed the first demonstration scale production runs for plant-based nylon 6.
The companies first joined forces in January 2020 to produce the world’s first metric ton of bio-based nylon 6 precursor at pilot scale before entering into an agreement in November 2020 to build a demonstration scale facility at Aquafil’s Slovenian site to produce renewably-sourced nylon 6.
In May 2022, Aquafil announced a further partnership with Geno to build a demonstration plant at this AquafilSLO (Ljubljana) facility to test the technical feasibility of producing bio-caprolactam, the most important intermediate for producing nylon 6, on a pre-industrial scale, with the start-up scheduled for the first half of 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,” Aqufil CEO Giulio Bonazzi said.
The companies say they have now produced the first several tonnes of this plant-based caprolactam in Slovenia, converted this to nylon 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.