The bioeconomy speaks Chinese


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Li Keqiang, Prime Minister of China

The bioeconomy speaks Chinese. Cathay Industrial Biotech, a Chinese leading privately-held industrial biotechnology company focused on producing specialty bio-based chemicals, announced a ground-breaking and agreement signing to initiate a significant expansion in their production capability for bio-produced long chain dibasic acids (LCDA) and ground-breaking of production facility for bio-pentanediamine (DN5), and bio-polyamide (bio-PA).


Cathay currently has production assets in Jinxiang, Shandong province with a production line of LCDA, multi-thousands tons of DN5 and bio-PA. The ground-breaking will be to recognize the beginning of construction for production assets announced on December 14, 2015. This agreement signing will initiate a new investment of LCDA and associated long chain polyamides.

This new production facility in Wusu, Xinjiang province is anticipated to provide a significant expansion to LCDA production plus an additional 500 kilotons (KT) of PDA, 1,000 KT of polyamide 56, and 150 KT of long chain polyamides. The initial phase of this project, with investment of over $500 million, anticipated to be complete by May 2017, will provide 50 KT of DN5, 100 KT of bio-PA and double the current capacity for LCDA.

Founded in 1997, Cathay is a leading industrial biotechnology company whose focus is exclusively on developing and commercializing economically viable industrial biotechnology solutions for the production of specialty chemicals, previously obtainable only by chemical routes.

After over a decade of research, Cathay is the first in the world to commercialize a new bio-based monomer of polyamides for the textile and engineering polymer market. DN5 is produced by Cathay by converting starch from natural biological sources, including biomass.

Since 2003, Cathay has been producing LCDAs by converting vegetable oils, or hydrocarbon fractions from oil or coal, via fermentation. Polymerizing these two monomers provide a broad array of bio-based polyamides, including PA 56, PA 511 and PA512, with unique and new performance characteristics.

This new technology reduces both dependence upon oil and environmental impact in the production of polyamides. It has also been recognized and affirmed for rapid development by many governmental and technology associations including the China Ministry of Industry, the China Textile Association, the China Chemical Fiber Association among others. These new technologies have also been recognized as China’s “Strategic Emerging Industries.”

According to the company, “Cathay’s trademarks for new polyamides, Terryl® and Ecopent™, deliver a unique softness, inherent flame retardance, good moisture absorption, high strength and wearability, plus ease of dying and spinning. These features also provide a very favorable synergy when blended with wools, cotton, polyesters and other fibers, not only in cost savings, but delivering high performance, feel and appearance attributes associated with much more expensive alternatives”.

“Doubling our LCDA capacity provides supply security for customers and meets the demands of new markets that Cathay has recently developed,” commented by Xiucai Liu, Cathay’s Ceo.  “Customer response has been overwhelming for the new bio-based materials. The value of these new products is very clear and Cathay is eager to work closely with selected downstream partners to deliver this value to the market.”

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