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Verdezyne, UFS Team For Nylon 6,6 Fiber Production Using Biobased Adipic Acid

Renewable chemicals producer Verdezyne Inc., Carlsbad, Calif., has formed a strategic partnership with Universal Fiber Systems LLC (UFS), Bristol, Va., and its operating companies Universal Fibers Inc. and Premiere Fibers Inc. under which Verdezyne will supply its biobased adipic acid to UFS for use in nylon 6,6 fiber production for specific application areas. The adipic acid is derived from nonfood-based vegetable oils using a cost-effective engineered yeast-based fermentation process.

Universal Fibers, also based in Bristol, produces solution-dyed man-made filament-based fiber for carpet, automotive and performance textile applications. Premiere Fibers, Ansonville, N.C., produces partially oriented yarn, fully drawn yarn, solution-dyed man-made fibers and other specialty nylons and polyesters for industrial, military, apparel and other applications. The specified applications covered by the agreement include solution-dyed nylon 6,6 commercial carpet yarn, performance apparel and military-grade parachutes - areas in which the two companies occupy a significant market share.

"We are extremely pleased to be partnered with Universal Fiber Systems in commercializing Verdezyne's biobased adipic acid for use in specialty products such as carpet fiber and performance apparel yarns," said Verdezyne President and CEO E. William Radany, Ph.D. "Universal Fibers and Premiere Fibers have set themselves apart by creating high-performance, innovative and sustainable products."

UFS CEO Marc Ammen, noting his company's commitment to sustainability both within a cradle-to-cradle scenario and from the standpoint of saving petroleum resources and reducing the company's environmental impact, stated, "We believe that microorganisms can be the chemical producers of the future, and we welcome this opportunity to work toward common objectives with Verdezyne on our quest to achieve sustainability while employing any and all technologies."

UFS has successfully tested the biobased adipic acid in specific applications such as carpet, and Radany expects Verdezyne will begin supplying material to Universal and Premiere Fibers for commercial production within the next 18 to 24 months. He added that Verdezyne also would supply its adipic acid to other companies for other applications.

"There are numerous applications that don't overlap with the specific ones reserved for UFS, so we'll be entering into other partnerships for those other applications," he said.

January/February 2013