Rennovia demonstrates production of HMD from renewable feedstocks; enabling production of 100% renewable nylon-6,6
25 April 2013
Rennovia, Inc., a privately held company that develops novel catalysts and processes for the cost-advantaged production of chemical products from renewable feedstocks, 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.
Nylon-6,6 is used extensively in automotive applications, where it is especially prized for its heat resistance, enabling under-the-hood applications. Nylon-6,6 is also widely used in fiber applications, including textiles, carpet, technical fiber, and tire cord.
Rennovia’s HMD process employs proprietary catalyst technology developed using its advanced high-throughput catalyst discovery and development platform.
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 halving greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions compared to conventional petroleum-derived HMD.
More than 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. It is used in the manufacture of nylon-6,6 for resin and fiber applications, as well as in polyurethanes.
Adipic acid. 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.
An IHS report identified Rennovia 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.
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 more than 6 billion pounds per year, from petroleum-derived benzene, with a global market of more than $6 billion. Adipic acid is used in the manufacture of nylon-6,6 for resin and fiber applications, in polyurethanes, and in non-phthalate plasticizers.
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