DuPont Industrial Biosciences and Archer Daniels Midland have developed a breakthrough method for producing furan dicarboxylic methyl ester (FDME) from fructose. This new process has the potential to expand the materials landscape in the 21st century with novel, high-performance renewable materials. One of the first polymers being developed will help the beverage packaging industry improve the shelf life of products.
This partnership brings together ADM’s expertise in fructose production and carbohydrate chemistry with DuPont’s biotechnology, chemistry, materials, and applications expertise, all backed by a joint intellectual-property portfolio.
FDME is a high-purity derivative of furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA), one of the 12 building blocks identified by the U.S. Dept. of Energy that can be converted into a number of high-value, bio-based chemicals or materials that can deliver high performance in a number of applications. It has long been sought-after and researched, but has not yet been available at commercial scale and at reasonable cost. The new FDME technology is a more efficient and simple process than traditional conversion approaches and results in higher yields, lower energy usage and lower capital expenditures.
“This molecule is a game-changing platform technology," said Simon Herriott, global business director for biomaterials at DuPont. “It will enable cost-efficient production of a variety of 100-percent renewable, high-performance chemicals and polymers with applications across a broad range of industries. ADM is an agribusiness powerhouse with strong technology development capabilities. They are the ideal partner with which to develop this new, renewable supply chain for FDME."
One of the first polymers under development utilizing FDME is polytrimethylene furandicarboxylate (PTF), a novel polyester also made from DuPont’s proprietary Bio-PDO (1,3-propanediol). PTF is a 100-percent renewable and recyclable polymer that, when used to make bottles and other beverage packages, improves gas-barrier properties compared to other polyesters. This makes PTF a great choice for customers in the beverage packaging industry looking to improve the shelf life of their products.
ADM and DuPont are taking the initial step in the process of bringing FDME to market by moving forward on the scale-up phase of the project. The two companies are planning to build an integrated 60 ton-per-year demonstration plant in Decatur, Illinois., which will provide potential customers with sufficient product quantities for testing and research.