Canadian Packaging

New process could expand materials landscape for 21st century

DuPont Industrial Biosciences and ADM announce breakthrough platform technology for long sought-after molecule that could open up vast landscape of bio-based materials offerings.


January 19, 2016
by Canadian Packaging staff

WILMINGTON, DEL—On January 19, 2016, science and agricultural leaders DuPont Industrial Biosciences and Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) announced a new breakthrough process with the potential to expand the materials landscape in the 21st century with exciting and truly novel, high-performance renewable materials with applications in packaging, textiles, engineering plastics and many other industries.

The companies have developed a method for producing furan dicarboxylic methyl ester (FDME) from fructose.

FDME is a high-purity derivative of furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA), one of the 12 building blocks identified by the U.S. Department of Energy that can be converted into a number of high-value, bio-based chemicals or materials that can deliver high performance in a number of applications.

It has long been sought-after and researched, but has not yet been available at commercial scale and at reasonable cost. The new FDME technology is a more efficient and simple process than traditional conversion approaches and results in higher yields, lower energy usage and lower capital expenditures.

This partnership brings together ADM’s world-leading expertise in fructose production, and carbohydrate chemistry with DuPont’s biotechnology, chemistry, materials and applications expertise, all backed by a strong joint intellectual-property portfolio.

“This molecule is a game-changing platform technology. It will enable cost-efficient production of a variety of 100 percent renewable, high-performance chemicals and polymers with applications across a broad range of industries,” says DuPont global business director Simon Herriott. “ADM is an agribusiness powerhouse with strong technology development capabilities. They are the ideal partner with which to develop this new, renewable supply chain for FDME.”

One of the first polymers under development utilizing FDME is polytrimethylene furandicarboxylate (PTF), a novel polyester also made from DuPont’s proprietary Bio-PDO (1,3-propanediol). PTF is a 100-percent renewable and recyclable polymer that, when used to make bottles and other beverage packages, substantially improves gas-barrier properties compared to other polyesters.  This makes PTF a great choice for customers in the beverage packaging industry looking to improve the shelf life of their products.

“We are excited about the potential FDME has to help our customers reach new markets and develop better-performing products, all made from sustainable, bio-based starting materials,” says ADM renewable chemicals president Kevin Moore. “With their strong leadership in the biomaterials industry, DuPont is a great partner that can help us bring this product to market for our customers.”

ADM and DuPont are taking the initial step in the process of bringing FDME to market by moving forward on the scale-up phase of the project. The two companies are planning to build an integrated 60 ton-per-year demonstration plant in Decatur, Ill., which will provide potential customers with sufficient product quantities for testing and research.

For more than a century, ADM has transformed crops into products that serve the vital needs of a growing world, and is now one of the largest agricultural processors and food ingredient providers, with more than 33,000 employees serving customers in more than 140 countries. With a global value chain that includes more than 460 crop procurement locations, 300 ingredient manufacturing facilities, 40 innovation centers and the world’s premier crop transportation network, the company connects the harvest to the home, making products for food, animal feed, industrial and energy uses. Learn more at www.adm.com.

DuPont Industrial Biosciences works with customers across a wide range of industries to improve products and make processes more sustainable. Through a unique combination of biotechnology, chemical and material science capabilities, it is focused on providing market-driven, bio-based solutions to meet the needs of a growing population, while protecting our environment for future generations.

DuPont has been bringing world-class science and engineering to the global marketplace in the form of innovative products, materials, and services since 1802. The company believes that by collaborating with customers, governments, NGOs, and thought leaders it can help find solutions to such global challenges as providing enough healthy food for people everywhere, decreasing dependence on fossil fuels, and protecting life and the environment. For additional information about DuPont and its commitment to inclusive innovation, visit www.dupont.com.

Image from http://www.thinkstockphotos.ca/


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