Toray develops bio-based adipic acid for sustainable PA66 production

Latest News: Researchers have successfully produced 100% bio-based adipic acid from inedible biomass, a world first. Adipic acid is a raw material for the production of PA66.

Researchers at Japan-based Toray Industries, in collaboration with Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology and the RIKEN Research Institute, Japan’s largest comprehensive research institute, have used a proprietary synthetic technique to combine the company’s microbial fermentation technology. This was achieved in combination with chemical purification techniques utilizing separation membranes.

Toray has developed a process for producing sugars from crop residues and other inedible plant resources. The company is the first in the world to discover that some microorganisms can produce adipic acid intermediates from sugars. Toray uses genetic engineering technology to improve the production efficiency of microorganisms, which has increased the yield of intermediates synthesized by these microorganisms by more than 1,000 times since their initial discovery, while significantly improving the efficiency of synthesis.

Microfiltration, ultrafiltration and nanofiltration membranes can separate and remove unwanted components from microbial fermentation broth. Toray uses reverse osmosis separation membranes to concentrate intermediates during purification. This method is more energy efficient than other methods that do not use these membranes, such as evaporative concentration.

The company has now begun to enhance its capabilities in this area. The company will first test the polymerization of PA66 and develop production technology, which will be followed by market research and further commercialization of this bio-based adipic acid around 2030.

Because of its exceptionally durable, strong and rigid properties, PA 66 has been used in fibers, resins and other fields for many years. Adipic acid is used in the production of PA
One of the two monomers required for 66. During the production of conventional petroleum-based adipic acid, a greenhouse gas called nitrous oxide is produced. Bio-based adipic acid production technology does not emit nitrous oxide, so it is expected to help combat global warming.