A collaboration between DuPont Industrial Biosciences and Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) has resulted into a “game-changing” process and method for producing Furan Dicarboxylic Methyl Ester (FDME) from fructose. 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.
FDME has long been sought-after and researched, but has not yet been available at commercial scale and at reasonable cost. This technological breakthrough has the potential to expand the materials landscape in the 21st century with exciting and truly novel, high-performance renewable materials.
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 or materials and deliver high performance in a number of applications, namely packaging, engineering plastics, textiles and consumer goods .
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, substantially improves gas-barrier properties compared to other polyesters. This makes PTF a great choice for customers in the carbonated beverage and soda packaging industry looking to improve the shelf life of their products.
The fruitful partnership brings together ADM’s world-leading 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.
“This molecule is a game-changing platform technology. 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,” said Simon Herriot, global business director for biomaterials at DuPont. “ADM is an agri-business powerhouse with strong technology development capabilities. They are the ideal partner with which to develop this new, renewable supply chain for FDME.”
“We are excited about the potential FDME has to help our customers reach new markets and develop better-performing products, all made from sustainable, bio-based starting materials,” said Kevin Moore, president, renewable chemicals at ADM. “With their strong leadership in the biomaterials industry, DuPont is a great partner that can help us bring this product to market for our customers.”
ADM and DuPont are taking steps to bring 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 (USA), which will provide potential customers with sufficient product quantities for testing and research.