San Diego, California and Leverkusen, Germany – Covestro has collaborated with San Diego-based Genomatica to create a commercial process to make hexamethylene diamine (HDMA) from plant-based materials. Covestro has secured an option to license the process
While HDMA is a key raw material for nylon, it is also used to make hexamethylene diisocyanate (HDI) for PU coatings. The automotive industry uses 500kT/year of these HDMA-based coatings.
Material from initial production is currently being assessed, and they have found the bio-HDMA is high purity and quality. The companies said they expect to be able to make tonnes of this material across multiple production campaigns.
‘The increased use of alternative raw materials, including the utilisation of biotechnology, is an important pillar of our approach to fully embrace the circular economy and help make it a global guiding principle,’ said Covestro CEO Markus Steilemann. ‘Our program with Genomatica, which complements our internal R&D, is one of our largest external funding of biotechnology R&D to date, and underscores both the field’s importance to Covestro and the results it can deliver.’
Thorsten Dreier, global head of Covestro’s coatings and adhesives business, said the programme is of great importance to the company, with markets increasingly asking for products based on renewable raw materials. ‘We can reduce this dependence on fossil feedstocks with innovative technology and our partnership,’ he said. ‘With a purely plant-based HMDA, we can significantly advance our corporate objective of CO2-neutral production.’