On 30 April 2018, DuPont Industrial Biosciences (DuPont) and Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) announced the opening of the world’s first biobased furan dicarboxylic methyl ester (FDME) pilot production facility in Decatur, Illinois in the United States. 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.
Nearly one-tenth of the world’s oil is used to make the plastic products we use every day. From shampoo bottles to frozen food containers, fossil-fuelbased plastics are virtually impossible to avoid because of a lack of commercially available alternatives—a significant gap in the marketplace that DuPont and ADM’s new biobased FDME aims to help address.
FDME is a molecule derived from fructose that can be used to create a variety of biobased chemicals and materials, including plastics, that are ultimately more cost-effective, efficient
and sustainable than their fossil fuelbased counterparts. “We’re confident
FDME is both the more sustainable option and the better-for-business option,” said Michael Saltzberg, PhD, 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 gamechanging technology to commercial
scale as quickly as possible.”
“Companies and consumers are of course concerned about their environmental footprint, but their bottom line will always be a key priority,” said ADM Chief Technology Officer Todd Werpy.
“This new, innovative 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 to 15 times the CO2 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 with shipping carbonated beverages.