Rennovia enters pilot stage of its bio-based 1.6- hexanediol (HDO) platform, accelerating the race to bio-nylon  

Rennovia, CA (USA) has successfully commissioned and is operating its pilot plant operations for its sugars to 1,6-hexanediol  process. 1,6-HDO is a platform intermediate to several commodity chemicals with over $20 billion global market value, including hexamethylenediamine (HMD), adipic acid (AA), and caprolactam.

1,6-HDO is a specialty chemical widely used today in a variety of formulated products, including coatings, adhesives, and elastomers.  Rennovia’s novel production process employs its proprietary catalyst technology and is projected to provide 1,6-HDO with drop-in performance properties.

In addition, Rennovia has successfully combined its bio-based adipic acid and  HMD to produce 100% renewable nylon-6,6. What gives the company a pole position for the race to bio-nylon.

Back in 2013, Rennovia had already produced bio-based nylon-6,6 polymer, under Rennovia’s RENNLON brand, made from its biobased adipic acid and HMD. Its production costs projections were ballpark 20-25% below the production costs of conventional petroleum-based AA and HMD, with a significantly lower capital cost per ton produced. Crude oil prices  have dropped substantially since then,  but as they make their climb back towards $60 per barrel, Rennovia’s process should end-up being competitive again by 2018.

Additional projected benefits include an 85% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventional petroleum-derived AA, and a 50% reduction in GHG emissions compared to conventional petroleum-derived HMD.

The completion of key pilot activities and the development of a 1,6-HDO commercial design package are anticipated by the end of 2017.  Rennovia is in active discussions with a number of potential strategic partners to support the commercialization of 1,6-HDO and downstream products.

Archer Daniel Midlands (USA) has expressed strong interest in supporting Rennovia’s commercialization of these products through feedstock supply and co-investment value chain partnering.The big step forward for ADM and Rennovia dates back to 2014, when ADM made a $25 million equity investment in Rennovia. At the time, the partners thought that the company’s first products would be nylon intermediates adipic acid and hexamethylenediamine (HMD).

In  March 2014,  Johnson Matthey Process Technologies (UK) and Rennovia announced their collaboration to develop and commercialize production technology for bio-based glucaric acid and adipic acid. In July 2015, they started-up a demo plant for the production of glucaric acid from glucose. And in February 2017, Johnson Matthey and Rennovia signed a license agreement with ADM to provide catalyst and process technology for the catalytic production of bio-based glucaric acid.

Glucaric acid is used for the production of detergents and cleaners, concrete formulations, de-icing and anti-corrosion applications.

 “The recent dramatic increase in petrochemical raw material prices and HMD supply issues reinforce the need for new and differentiated HMD capacity.  We believe the timing is right to bring new 1,6-HDO and HMD technologies to the market place.” said Robert Wedinger, Chief Executive Officer of Rennovia.

“We look forward to selecting strategic partnerships to commercialize our innovative processes for the production of cost-advantaged chemicals,” continued Dr. Wedinger./blockquote>

“We continue to see a strong synergy in leveraging Rennovia’s breakthrough new catalyst technology at our manufacturing facilities to diversify our product mix and efficiently produce higher value bio-based chemicals and diversify our feedstock supply for our customers,” said Kevin Moore, President of Renewable Chemicals for ADM.

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