A new “breakthrough process” jointly developed by DuPont Industrial Biosciences and Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) reportedly enables the production of furan dicarboxylic methyl ester (FDME) from fructose. A high-purity derivative of furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA), FDME is one of the 12 building blocks identified by the U.S. Dept. of Energy that can be converted into a number of high-value, biobased chemicals or materials that can deliver high performance in a number of applications.
The partners see this molecule as a “game-changing” platform technology that could expand the materials landscape in the 21st century with truly novel, high-performance renewable materials with applications in packaging, engineering plastics, textiles and other industries. This collaborative effort brings together ADM’s expertise in fructose production , and carbohydrate chemistry with DuPont’s biotechnology, chemistry, materials and applications expertise—all backed by a strong joint intellectual-property portfolio. Plans are underway for an integrated 120,000 lb/yr demonstration plant in Decatur, Ill., which will provide potential customers with sufficient product quantities for testing and research.
One of the first material under development utilizing FDME is polytrimethylene furandicarboxylate (PTF), which is touted as a novel polyester and also made from DuPont’s proprietary Bio-PDP (1.3-propanediol). A 100% renewable and recyclable polymer, PTF is said to substantially improve gas barrier properties over those of other polyesters in the creation of bottles and other beverage packages. So, PTF will be positioned as a challenger in applications where the beverage packaging industry is aiming to improve shelf life and lighten the weight of their products.