Bio-Based Polyamides

Here's a reproduction of an excellent digest issued by my dear collegue Doris de Guzman from Tecnon OrbiChem on the bio-polyamides sector, a high-potential area for bio-based chemicals.

Here’s a slide from a presentation she gave earlier this year featuring various building blocks and intermediates required to produce a certain polyamide. The green arrows indicate current R&D or commercial production for bio-based alternatives.

DA10 and DC10 monomers from sebacic acid, which comes from castor oil, are being used for the production of PA6,10; PA10,10 and PA10,12 by several suppliers. These are patly bio-based polyamides as illustrated in the table below by a leading Italian producer RadiciGroup, selling under the trade name Radilon™.


On the other hand, there is (France) Arkema’s PA11 made from 100% bio-based 11-amino-undecanoic (A11) acid monomer also sourced from castor oil. Arkema have been manufacturing Rilsan™ from as early as the fifty’s but sales and production only picked-up after the turn of the century.

Arkema has today the most comprehensive portfolio of long chain bio-based polyamides . It was showcased on their booth at K2016 and is illustrated below


Last month, Arkema announced that is was expanding its specialty polyamides compounding capacities in Zhangjiagang, its site in the Jiangsu Province of China, and will bring on stream in 2017 two production lines to manufacture PA11 in addition to PA10 already produced at the site.

Arkema is also investing in its Birdsboro site in Pennsylvania (USA) to enable the manufacturing of its new Pebax bio-sourced thermoplastic elastomer grades for sports and electronics .

By the end of 2016, Arkema intends to make 15% of its turnover with renewable materials produced in the five following plants/sites:

  • Marseille, France – A11 production and co-products glycerine, heptanaldehyde, heptanol, heptanoic acid and fatty esters which are being sold to the pharmaceuticals, paints, lubricant and fragrance markets.
  • Hengshui, China (Casda Biomaterials) – sebacic acid, PA10
  • Blooming Prairie, USA – epoxidized oils such as soybean oil and flaxseed oil, as well as terpenes from conifer resins for used as additives in polymer and lubricant formulations as well as the cosmetics industry
  • Parentis, France – activated carbon from local pine wood
  • Feuchy, France – fatty acids and surfactants


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