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Biomass to Nylon

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

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Technology Marketing Summary

The global market for adipic acid, a key component of nylon-6,6, is expected to grow by 3.7% CAGR to more than $7.5 billion in 2019 according to global research firm Markets and Markets, driven by increased adoption of nylon in the electronics and automotive industries. Adipic acid is currently the most abundant dicarboxylic acid manufactured from petroleum worldwide and producing it through traditional manufacturing methods also generates a large amount of the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide (NO2). As demand for nylon-6,6 increases it will be necessary to identify a more sustainable method to create adipic acid. 


Researchers at NREL have discovered a novel process by which muconic acid can be produced, separated, and catalytically reduced to adipic acid. Muconic acid can be produced renewably via the biological conversion of sugars and lignin-derived aromatics, eliminating the need for petroleum. Adipic acid generated through this process can be used to create nylon-6,6 which demonstrates beneficial thermal properties compared to nylon produced with adipic acid generated via traditional petroleum based methods.

  • Renewable bio-adipic acid can be polymerized to produce nylon-6,6
  • Polymers with higher Tg/TM can be synthesized through this process
Applications and Industries
  • Nylon manufacturing (textiles, engineering resins, automotive)
  • Polymer manufacturing
Patents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Application 20180282481
The present disclosure relates to a polymer that includes a first repeat unit having the structure ##STR00001## where m is between 1 and 1,000, R.sub.1 includes a first organic group, and R.sub.2 includes a second organic group.
National Renewable Energy Laboratory 04/02/2018
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
ROI 17-48, Provisional Patent 62/479,776PrototypeAvailable04/04/201704/04/2017

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To: Eric Payne<>