The two companies’ new FDME technology, which starts with fructose from corn, is a more efficient and simple process than traditional conversion approaches and results in higher yields, lower energy usage and lower capital expenditures.
Nearly one-tenth of the world’s oil is used to make common plastic products such as shampoo bottles and 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’s new biobased FDME will help address.
“We’re confident FDME is both the more sustainable option and the better-for-business option,” said Michael Saltzberg, Ph.D., 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.”
“Companies and consumers are of course concerned about their environmental footprint, but their bottom line will always be a key priority,” said Todd Werpy, chief technology officer at ADM. “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, the companies said.
U.S. Congressman Rodney Davis of Illinois attended the ribbon-cutting in Decatur, delivering remarks and touring the facility.
“Illinois has always been a hub of agricultural innovation and scientific discovery, and both DuPont and ADM have been an important part of the fabric of our local farming communities,” Davis said. “This facility is a testament to the vitality and vibrancy of my district’s workforce and the critical importance of manufacturing in and revitalizing our rural communities. I thank these companies for their continued commitment to the people of Illinois.”