11. Jul 2023
A research team from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) and the Leipzig University has now developed a process that can produce adipic acid, one of two building blocks of nylon
Until now, nylon has been produced from petroleum-based raw materials. However, this is quite harmful to the environment because non-renewable fossil resources are used, a great deal of energy is required, and climate-damaging nitrous oxide is emitted during production. A research team from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) and the Leipzig University has now developed a process that can produce adipic acid, one of two building blocks of nylon, from phenol through electrochemical synthesis and the use of microorganisms. The team also showed that phenol can be replaced by waste materials from the wood industry. This could then be used to produce bio-based nylon. The research work was published in Green Chemistry.
In T-shirts, stockings, shirts, and ropes - or as a component of parachutes and car tyres - polyamides are used everywhere as synthetic fibres. At the end of the 1930s, the name Nylon was coined for such synthetic polyamides. Nylon-6 and Nylon-6.6 are two polyamides that account for around 95% of the global nylon market. Until now, they have been produced from fossil-based raw materials. However, this petrochemical process is harmful to the environment because it emits around 10% of the climate-damaging nitrous oxide (laughing gas) worldwide and requires a great deal of energy. "Our goal is to make the entire nylon production chain environmentally friendly. This is possible if we access bio-based waste as feedstock and make the synthesis process sustainable", says Dr Falk Harnisch, head of the Electrobiotechnology working group at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ).
(to read more, vitit: https://www.ufz.de/index.php?en=36336&webc_pm=26/2023)