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Strategic partnership with Genomatica will accelerate trials for commercialization.

Stephen Moore

March 17, 2022

1 Min Read
automotive applications of polyamide
Image courtesy of Asahi Kasei

Japan’s Asahi Kasei has formed a strategic partnership with Genomatica Inc. involving hexamethylenediamine (HMDA) based on biomass-derived raw materials. Asahi Kasei currently uses fossil fuel–derived HMDA as an intermediate to manufacture grades of its Leona polyamide (PA) 66. PA 66 is used in automotive and electronics applications, as well as yarn for airbag fabric. Demand for PA 66 is expected to increase worldwide.

Preceding this announcement, German materials manufacturer Covestro and Genomatica announced in January the first successful production of commercially significant volumes of a plant-based version of HMDA.

In addition to PA 66, PA 6I, and PA 612 made using HMDA, Asahi Kasei also manufactures polyamide 610 using intermediate derived from castor oil. As the world moves toward carbon neutrality, attention is increasingly focused on solutions for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from chemical products derived from fossil fuels. The strategic alliance with Genomatica provides Asahi Kasei with preferential rights to access early volumes of bio-HMDA to evaluate its potential as a feedstock of PA 66, enabling Asahi Kasei to accelerate trials of PA 66 made using biomass-derived intermediate.

Genomatica has an established track record of commercializing manufacturing technology for various chemical products using biotechnology. By using this bio-HMDA with its own PA 66 polymerization technology, Asahi Kasei aims to support its goal to be first-to-market with more sustainable PA 66 made using biomass-derived intermediates for automotive and electronics applications, as well as industrial fiber. Asahi Kasei expects that this use of biotechnology will contribute to reaching its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050.

About the Author(s)

Stephen Moore

Stephen has been with PlasticsToday and its preceding publications Modern Plastics and Injection Molding since 1992, throughout this time based in the Asia Pacific region, including stints in Japan, Australia, and his current location Singapore. His current beat focuses on automotive. Stephen is an avid folding bicycle rider, often taking his bike on overseas business trips, and is a proud dachshund owner.

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