DuPont Industrial Biosciences and Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM) recently announced they have received the Breakthrough Solution of the Year Award from Platts Global Energy for their platform technology to produce a bio-based monomer, furan dicarboxylic methyl ester (FDME). The process could reportedly expand the materials landscape with novel, high-performance renewable materials. The technology has applications in packaging, textiles, engineering plastics and other industries.

“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.”

FDME is a high-purity derivative of furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA), reportedly one of the 12 building blocks identified by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) 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, reportedly is a more efficient and simple process than traditional conversion approaches and results in higher yields, lower energy usage, and lower capital expenditures.

ADM and DuPont have reportedly 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, Ill., and is expected to begin operations in the second half of 2017. The facility reportedly 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 reportedly a 100% renewable and recyclable polymer that, when used to make bottles and other beverage packages, improves gas-barrier properties compared to other polyesters.

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