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DuPont Industrial Biosciences, ADM open bio-based pilot facilityDuPont Industrial Biosciences, ADM open bio-based pilot facility

Companies launch world’s first manufacturing facility producing furan dicarboxylic methyl ester.

April 30, 2018

2 Min Read
DuPont Industrial Biosciences, ADM open bio-based pilot facility

DuPont Industrial Biosciences (DuPont) and Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM) have announced the opening of the world’s first bio-based furan dicarboxylic methyl ester (FDME) pilot production facility in Decatur, Ill. The plant is the centerpiece of a long-standing collaboration that will help bring a greater variety of sustainably sourced biomaterials into the lives of consumers, the companies said.

Nearly one-tenth of the world’s oil is used to make the plastic products people use every day. From shampoo bottles to frozen food containers, fossil-fuel-based plastics are virtually impossible to avoid because of a lack of commercially available alternatives — a significant gap in the marketplace that DuPont and ADM say their new bio-based FDME will help address.

FDME is a molecule derived from fructose that can be used to create a variety of bio-based chemicals and materials, including plastics, that are ultimately more cost effective, efficient and sustainable than their fossil fuel-based counterparts.

“We’re confident FDME is both the more sustainable option and the better-for-business option,” said Dr. Michael Saltzberg, global business director for biomaterials at DuPont Industrial Biosciences. “This molecule, and its numerous applications, will be high performing, cost effective and better for the environment. ADM’s expertise in agricultural value chains and the chemistry of carbohydrates makes them the best possible business partner on this initiative. Our goal is to bring this game-changing technology to commercial scale as quickly as possible.”

ADM chief technology officer Todd Werpy reiterated that the new product will help customers replace plastics with materials that are more environmentally friendly, better performing and cost efficient. “We’re pleased to work with DuPont, a leader in biomaterials, to bring this innovative new portfolio of solutions to customers around the globe, and we’re excited about the future of FDME.”

One of the first FDME-based polymers under development by DuPont is polytrimethylene furandicarboxyate (PTF), a novel polyester also made from DuPont’s proprietary Bio-PDO (1,3-propanediol). PTF is a 100% renewable polymer that, in bottling applications, can be used to create plastic bottles that are lighter weight, more sustainable and better performing.

Research shows that PTF has up to 10-15 times the carbon dioxide barrier performance of traditional PET plastic, which results in a longer shelf life. With that better barrier, companies will be able to design significantly lighter-weight packages, lowering the carbon emissions and significant costs related to shipping carbonated beverages.

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