Technological watch

Partnership to Develop 100% Renewably-sourced Nylon-6: Genomatica and Aquafil

Genomatica has achieved a new milestone for the production of the world’s first renewably-sourced ton of the key ingredient for nylon-6, made from plants instead of crude oil, which is then converted into nylon-6 polymer chips and yarn by Aquafil in Slovenia.
Genomatica’s Partnership with Aquafil
Genomatica’s innovation, alongside partner and major European nylon producer Aquafil, will produce 100 percent renewably-sourced nylon that delivers equivalent performance to the conventional nylon that touches millions of people’s lives, but with lower environmental impact. This bio-based nylon has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in a 10 billion dollars global industry that produces over five million tons of nylon-6 per year, to make carpet, clothing, car interiors, engineered plastics and food packaging.
New Fermentation Technology
Genomatica’s technology to make a naturally sourced nylon is made possible by fermentation — like making beer. The company engineered a microorganism and production process that ferments the sugars found in plants to make the chemical intermediate for nylon-6. This milestone marks Genomatica’s successful scaling of this process to produce one ton of the intermediate. The chemical is then converted into nylon-6 polymer chips and yarn by Aquafil in Slovenia.
It’s a terrific material, and now, with the power of biotechnology, we can reinvent where it comes from. This is a major step forward in offering a new, more sustainable future with a better nylon for the full range of industries it serves” said Christophe Schilling, CEO of Genomatica.
12 Global Partners
Global partners have played a key role in accelerating Genomatica’s bio-nylon program. Aquafil was the first to join Genomatica’s program, bringing funding support and nylon-related chemical, quality and market expertise. Additionally, Project EFFECTIVE, a consortium with 12 partners including major brands like H&M, Vaude, Carvico and Balsan, was formed to drive the production of more sustainable bio-based fibers for widely used consumer products made from renewable feedstocks.
With the rise of fast fashion and the ongoing demand for nylon-based products, more sustainably sourced nylon ingredients are essential to reducing the industry’s environmental impacts.

Publication date: 06/02/2020

Omnexus (news)


This project has received funding from the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 837761.