DuPont and ADM’s FDME technology earns 2016 ‘Breakthrough’ award from Platts

DuPont Industrial Biosciences (Wilmington, DE) and Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM; Chicago) have received the Breakthrough Solution of the Year Award from Platts Global Energy (London) for their platform technology to produce a revolutionary biobased monomer, furan dicarboxylic methyl ester (FDME). The award was announced at the 18th Platts Global Energy Awards, held in New York on Thursday, Dec. 8.

The breakthrough process developed by DuPont and ADM has the potential to expand the materials landscape in the 21st century with novel, high-performance renewable materials, according to a press release distributed today. The technology has applications in packaging, textiles, engineering plastics and many other industries.  

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 and materials that can deliver high performance in a variety of applications. 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. Until this year, it had long been sought-after and researched, but had not yet been available at commercial scale and at reasonable cost. ADM and DuPont have taken the initial step in the process of bringing FDME to market by moving forward on the scale-up phase of the project. An integrated 60 ton-per-year demonstration plant is currently under construction in Decatur, IL, and is expected to begin operations in the second half of 2017. 

The facility will provide potential customers with sufficient product quantities for testing and research as well as the required basic data for a planned commercial-scale plant.

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

This infographic highlights the potential of this material: PDF iconIB_DuPont_ADM_Infographic_011516a.pdf

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