Japanese industrial products company Toray Industries has announced that it has developed an 100% bio-based adipic acid from sugars derived from inedible biomass for use as a raw material for nylon 66 (polyamide 66).

The adipic acid was produced using a proprietary synthesis technique – combining microbial fermentation technology and chemical purification technology that harnesses separation membranes – the company said on 24 August.

Toray Industries said it would now scale up its capabilities by testing the polymerisation of nylon 66, developing production technology and conducting market research with the aim of commercial production of bio-based adipic acid by around 2030.

Although nylon had been used in fibres, resins and other applications for years due to its strength, pressures to develop eco-friendly nylon 66 had increased recently due to a growing awareness of sustainability, the company said.

One challenge was that conventional chemical synthesis for producing adipic acid – the raw material of nylon 66 - generated a greenhouse gas called dinitrogen monoxide.

The bio-adipic acid production technique used by Toray Industries was free from dinitrogen monoxide emissions, the company said.

The company said it was also developing a process for producing sugars from crop residues and other inedible plant resources for use as raw materials for bio-based adipic acid.