Rennovia launches hexamethylenediamine, enabling 100% Bio-Based Nylon-6,6
Rennovia, Inc announced at the PCI 6th American Nylon Symposium that it has successfully demonstrated production of hexamethylenediamine (HMD) from widely available, renewable feedstocks. Coupled with Rennovia’s previously announced renewable adipic acid, this enables for the first time the production of 100% bio-based nylon-6,6 from monomers derived from bio-renewable feedstocks using chemical catalytic technology.
Rennovia’s HMD process employs proprietary catalyst technology developed using its advanced high-throughput catalyst discovery and development platform. “Practicing our HMD process at demonstration scale is the important next milestone for the company,” said Robert Wedinger, President and CEO of Rennovia. Production costs for Rennovia’s bio-based HMD are projected to be 20-25% below that of conventional petroleum-based HMD, with a significantly lower per-pound capital cost. Additional projected benefits include a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions compared to conventional petroleum-derived HMD. “The development of our HMD process further validates Rennovia’s unique ability to create technological breakthroughs in the production of bio-based chemical products, with projected significant cost advantages vs. products produced from petroleum-based feedstocks” added Wedinger.
Rennovia has also been identified in an IHS report as the leading prospect for cost advantaged bio-based adipic acid production vs. conventional petroleum-based processes based on oxidation of cyclohexane, and more recently described processes employing fermentation. While noting that both the Rennovia and fermentation processes have yet to be scaled to commercial plants, which introduces some inherent uncertainties in the technical and economic analyses, the IHS Chemical Process Economics Program (PEP) Report #284 Bio-Based Adipic Acid concluded that Rennovia’s process offers lower projected cash and full production costs than the current, dominant petroleum-based process, and potential fermentation processes proposed to be under development.
“This study provides an external perspective consistent with our view that our chemical catalytic, bio-based adipic acid process is capable of offering lower production cost, lower per-pound capital requirements, and a more environmentally-friendly manufacturing process, when compared to conventional petrochemical processes and currently recognized fermentation processes,” said Robert Wedinger.
Rennovia’s adipic acid process employs proprietary catalyst technology developed using its advanced high-throughput catalyst discovery and development platform. Currently operating for more than a year at pilot scale, Rennovia has targeted demonstration-scale production of bio-based adipic acid in 2014, and anticipates first commercial-scale production in 2018.
In addition to the prospects of significantly reduced production and capital costs, Rennovia’s renewable adipic acid process is projected to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by over 85% compared with current petrochemical process technology.
Global production of adipic acid is over 6 billion pounds per year, from petroleum-derived benzene, with a global market of more than $6 billion, while over 3 billion pounds of HMD is currently produced per year from petroleum-derived propylene or butadiene, representing a global market of more than $4 billion.Both are used in the manufacture of nylon-6,6 for resin and fiber applications, as well as in polyurethanes. These are used in a wide range of consumer goods, including interior, exterior and under-the-hood automotive parts, coatings, tires, shoes, apparel, and carpeting.