This year’s winners of the Breakthrough Solution of the Year Award from Platts Global Energy were announced at yesterday’s 18th Platts Global Energy Awards, held in New York. The recipients of the annual award were DuPont Industrial Biosciences (DuPont) and Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) for their platform technology to produce furan dicarboxylic methyl ester, or FDME. DuPont and ADM were selected as Breakthrough Solution of the Year winners out of a field of eight other finalists.
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. DuPont and ADM announced earlier this year that they had developed technology to produce FDME starting from fructose from corn and providing a more efficient and simple process than traditional conversion approaches and resulting in higher yields, lower energy usage and lower capital expenditures.
“FDME is a highly functional, biobased building block, which we believe will deliver performance benefits in a number of industries including packaging, adhesives, coatings, elastomers and plastics,” said Kevin Moore, president, Renewable Chemicals at ADM.
The two companies are building an integrated 60 ton-per-year demonstration plant in Decatur, Ill., which 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.
“FDME is a game-changing platform technology that will enable a variety of renewable, high-performance chemicals and polymers with applications across a broad range of industries,” said Michael Saltzberg, global business director for Biomaterials at DuPont.
“We are honored to receive this recognition alongside our partner, ADM, as we continue our work to help industries address the challenge of improving the environmental footprint of their supply chains and offering sustainable choices to their downstream customers.”
One of the first polymers under development utilizing FDME is polytrimethylene furandicarboxylate (PTF), a biobased polyester also made with DuPont’s proprietary Bio-PDO (1,3-propanediol). Like its close relation PEF, 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. PTF can therefore offer considerable benefits to customers, among others, in the beverage packaging industry, in terms of extending the shelf life of their products.