Processing Magazine

Biotech company granted patent for bio-based adipic acid production process

August 30, 2012

CARLSBAD, Calif. — Industrial biotech company Verdezyne Inc. has been granted a U.S. patent for a bio-based adipic acid production process.

U.S. Patent No. 8,241,879, titled “Biological Methods for Preparing Adipic Acid,” covers one of the company’s proprietary processes for selectively converting non-petroleum oils into adipic acid — a key component used to manufacture sustainable nylon 6,6, thermoplastic polyurethane resins and coatings from renewable sources.

“Building on the patent we secured earlier this year on engineered microorganisms, this intellectual property protection for our adipic acid production process is another strong milestone in our technology development program,” said E. William Radany, Ph.D., president and CEO of Verdezyne. “Our feedstock-flexible approach is just one of many factors that sets Verdezyne apart from other players in the renewable chemicals landscape.”

Verdezyne has designed its proprietary adipic acid process specifically for the production of nylon 6,6. The company believes its renewably sourced adipic acid will be cost-advantaged compared with standard adipic acid, as well as being more environmentally friendly.

“Verdezyne’s proprietary process allows us to produce adipic acid at high yields and selectively from any plant-based oil, regardless of its fatty acid composition — making the entire process more cost-effective and environmentally friendly,” said Stephen Picataggio, Ph.D., chief scientific officer. “Since our feedstock position is not carbohydrate-based, we are also not competing for sugar in the food or energy value chain.”

Found in everyday products such as nylon, furniture, coatings, carpeting, bedding and automobile parts, adipic acid is a valuable chemical intermediate for established downstream markets such as the automotive, apparel and textile industries. The estimated worldwide market for adipic acid is over $6 billion.