23 Jan 2018

Aquafil and Genomatica join forces for bio-nylon – target more sustainable apparel, carpets and fibers.


Aquafil to provide R&D collaboration and development funding;

gains option for commercial plant.


Trento, Italy and San Diego, CA, January 23, 2018 – Aquafil and Genomatica have announced a multi-
year agreement to create sustainable caprolactam, a key ingredient to producing 100 percent
sustainable nylon. The collaboration aims to develop a commercially-advantageous bioprocess
(Genomatica’s GENO CPL™ process) to make caprolactam using plant-based renewable ingredients,
rather than the crude oil-derived materials traditionally used by the nylon industry.
Enabling more sustainable nylon products
Used in a variety of nylon-based products including carpets and apparel, caprolactam has a worldwide
market of over five million tons per year. Genomatica’s GENO CPL™ process aims to provide an
environmentally-friendly way to make caprolactam with better economics, including for smaller-scale
plants. Additionally, it will enable licensees and their customers to differentiate themselves by offering a
more sustainable bio-based product whose performance will be fully comparable with nylon made from
crude oil-derived caprolactam, and which will not require any machine or process adjustments by the
nylon supply chain. Genomatica is the licensor of the GENO CPL TM process.


Genomatica’s process to make biobased caprolactam aims to let Aquafil and others make more sustainable nylon apparel, carpets and fibers.


genomatica schema grafico

Aquafil is a leading producer of nylon yarn and launched the ECONYL® Regeneration System in 2011 to
produce nylon made from 100 percent regenerated waste. A large and growing number of globally
recognized sportswear, fashion, luxury and carpet brands choose ECONYL® as the sustainable ingredient
for their product. Like the ECONYL® process, the GENO CPL™ process eliminates the significant amount
of by-products common to most crude oil-derived caprolactam production, and will allow producers to
diversify their sources in terms of raw material.
Opportunities for chemical producers, product makers and brands
Genomatica invites other leaders in the nylon value chain to join its bio-nylon program – and Aquafil
encourages further collaboration with supply chain partners. By joining the program, companies ranging
from chemical producers and product makers to agriculture companies and major brands can engage,
influence priorities and gain access to Genomatica’s technologies and supply of bio-based chemicals.
Supporting quotes
“As proven by the success of ECONYL®, consumers and manufacturers look forward to opportunities to
play an active role in the circular economy. We aim to be a leader of sustainability for nylon, and we are
excited by the opportunity to be the first to bring the benefits of this new technology to our customers,
which is perfectly in line with our commitment to creating sustainable products,” said Giulio Bonazzi,
Chairman and CEO of Aquafil. “Genomatica brings the technology, innovation and track record to help
us achieve this.”

“Visionary companies like Aquafil are delighting customers and gaining market share through more
sustainable products,” said Christophe Schilling, CEO of Genomatica. “This is another example of
Genomatica applying the power of biology to rethink how widely-used chemicals can be made a better
way. Just as we’ve surpassed key milestones for our commercial GENO BDO process and were named
winner of the ICIS Innovation Award for our new naturally sourced butylene glycol, we now aim to bring
biotechnology innovation to enable better nylon products.”
About Aquafil
Since 1969, Aquafil has been one of the leading players, both in Italy and globally, in the production of
polyamide 6 (nylon 6). The Aquafil Group has a presence in eight countries on three continents,
employing more than 2,700 staff at 15 plants located in Italy, Germany, Scotland, Slovenia, Croatia, the
USA, Thailand and China. For more information, visit www.aquafil.com.
About Genomatica
Genomatica is a widely-recognized leader in bioengineering. It develops biobased process technologies
that enable a better way to produce widely-used chemicals, from alternative feedstocks, with better
economics, sustainability and performance. Genomatica has earned widespread acclaim for its
technology and commercialization achievements. Awards include the Kirkpatrick Award, for “the most
noteworthy chemical engineering technology commercialized in the world” and the ICIS Innovation
Award. To learn more, see www.genomatica.com.
For more information:
For Aquafil: Maria Giovanna Sandrini, maria.giovanna.sandrini@aquafil.com
For Genomatica: Steve Weiss, sweiss@genomatica.com, +1.858.210.4424