Joint development between Genomatica and Aquafil

The first ton of intermediates from renewable sources for bio PA 6

Materials - Wednesday, 5 February 2020

Eighty years after polyamide’s first commercial production, clean manufacturing technology Genomatica achieved a new milestone for the material - its production of the world’s first renewably-sourced ton of the key ingredient for polyamide 6, made from plants instead of crude oil. PA, the first totally synthetic fibre to be made into consumer products including apparel and carpet, is responsible for an estimated 60 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year through traditional production which begins with crude oil.


Genomatica’s innovation, alongside partner and major European PA producer Aquafil, will produce 100% renewably-sourced PA that delivers equivalent performance to the conventional PA that touches millions of people’s lives, but with lower environmental impact. This bio-based PA has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in a 10 billion dollars global industry that produces over five million tons of PA 6 per year, to make carpet, clothing, car interiors, engineered plastics and food packaging.


Genomatica’s technology to make a naturally sourced PA is made possible by fermentation - similar to making beer. The company engineered a microorganism and production process that ferments the sugars found in plants to make the chemical intermediate for PA 6. This milestone marks Genomatica’s successful scaling of this process to produce one ton of the intermediate. The chemical is then converted into PA 6 polymer chips and yarn by Aquafil in Slovenia.

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