Accelerates momentum for Genomatica’s new route to HMD and Asahi Kasei’s sustainability strategy
SAN DIEGO, California, and TOKYO — MARCH 15, 2022 — Sustainable materials leader Genomatica and Japan-based diversified global manufacturer Asahi Kasei announced a strategic partnership to commercialize renewably-sourced nylon 6,6 made from Genomatica’s bio-based HMD (hexamethylenediamine, also abbreviated as HMDA) building block. Asahi Kasei looks to this partnership to support its goal to be first-to-market with a more sustainable nylon 6,6 for the automotive and electronics industries, based on plant-based HMD, and to accelerate the achievement of its corporate sustainability objectives.
HMD is a key component of nylon 6,6 (also known as polyamide 6,6) and multiple other types of nylon, with a global market of 2 million tons per year. Conventional HMD is made starting from fossil fuels, such as crude oil or natural gas. Renewably-sourced HMD made with Genomatica’s technology is derived from renewable feedstocks, such as plant-based sugars, and can improve the sustainability of the many materials made from it.
Building upon Genomatica’s recently-announced breakthrough to successfully produce significant volumes of plant-based HMD, Asahi Kasei intends to apply the GENO™ HMD process technology to make more sustainable materials for use in products such as high-temperature automotive parts, electronics, or yarns to produce airbags. Asahi Kasei will have preferential access to early volumes of renewably-sourced HMD and perform nylon application testing, leveraging Asahi Kasei’s deep experience developing successful nylon applications. Asahi Kasei anticipates licensing Genomatica’s GENO™ HMD process technology to commercialize bio-based nylon 6,6.
“Just as the sustainable energy transition is reinventing how we power our lives, we are at the start of a sustainable materials transition that will reinvent the products we use every day and where they come from,” said Christophe Schilling, Genomatica CEO. “Genomatica’s partnership with Asahi Kasei utilizing the GENO™ HMD process for nylon 6,6 and other specialty nylons marks another important step forward in this transition and leads the way toward more renewably-sourced, bio-based manufacturing plants replacing those utilizing fossil fuels.”
Genomatica develops complete, integrated process and manufacturing plant designs that use biotechnology, fermentation and renewable feedstocks to make widely-used ingredients and materials with lower carbon footprints. Asahi Kasei expects Genomatica’s innovation to help the company reach its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050.
“Asahi Kasei is proud to be a leader in our industrial technology, incorporating bio-based materials into our products in our drive to become carbon neutral in the coming years,” said Dr. Shigeki Takayama, Chief Technology Officer and Representative Director on the Board of Directors of Asahi Kasei. “Sustainability is a core piece of Asahi Kasei’s strategy and Genomatica’s strong history of commercial success has made them an essential partner in this mission. We anticipate a strong start and look forward to moving to commercial scale together.”
 * Regarding the use of terms such as “renewably-sourced (nylon 6,6 or HMD)”, and “more sustainable (nylon 6,6 or materials)”: Nylon 6,6 is made by using approximately 50% HMD along with approximately 50% adipic acid, which today is made from fossil-derived feedstocks. Renewably-sourced HMD is derived from the sugars in plants which are annually harvestable. Renewably-sourced and sustainable nylon 6,6 is made by using such bio-based HMD instead of conventional HMD from fossil fuels, along with adipic acid. “More sustainable” ingredients or materials describes our estimates that ingredients or materials made using renewable feedstocks and Genomatica production technology can reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with their production, as compared to similar ingredients or materials made using fossil-derived feedstocks and conventional petrochemical production methods.
Genomatica is harnessing biology to remake widely-used products and materials built by and for the planet. The company is developing and scaling more sustainable materials used across key industries that are derived from plant- or waste-based feedstocks instead of fossil fuels, helping brands and their supply chains deliver on their climate goals and transparency objectives. Genomatica has already commercialized sustainable materials used in plastics and cosmetics, and is working on plant-based nylon, household cleaners and more. To learn more, visit genomatica.com.
About Asahi Kasei
The Asahi Kasei Group contributes to life and living for people around the world. Since its foundation in 1922 with ammonia and cellulose fiber businesses, Asahi Kasei has consistently grown through the proactive transformation of its business portfolio to meet the evolving needs of every age. With more than 40,000 employees around the world, the company contributes to a sustainable society by providing solutions to the world’s challenges through its three business sectors of Material, Homes, and Health Care. Its Materials sector, comprised of Basic Materials, Performance Products, Specialty Solutions, and Electronics, includes a wide array of products from battery separators and biodegradable textiles to engineering plastics and sound solutions. For more information, visit www.asahi-kasei.com.