The plant was built by DuPont Industrial Biosciences and Archer Daniels Midland Co. The pilot plant has a 60-ton/yr potential and is an important move in the commercialization of bio-based FDME.
Bio-based FDME is made from cornstarch-derived fructose and will be used to make a range of bio-based chemicals and plastics. The technology has applications in packaging, textiles, engineering plastics and many other industries.
The fructose is dehydrated and the products from the reaction are oxidized to form furan dicarboxylic acid (FDCA). FDME is a derivative from FDCA. The FDCA bio-based FDMEs then reacted with methanol, resulting in FDME.
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DuPont and ADM say plastics derived from bio-based FDME will ultimately be more cost-effective, efficient and sustainable than their petroleum-based counterparts.
One of the first FDME-based polymers under development by is polytrimethylene furandicarboxylate (PTF), a novel polyester also made from DuPont’s proprietary Bio-PDO (1,3-propanediol).
PTF is a 100% renewable polymer that may be used in bottling applications to create plastic bottles that are lighter-weight, more sustainable and better performing. Research has shown that PTF has up to 10–15 times the CO 2 barrier performance of traditional PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic, which results in a longer shelf life and a lighter-weight packaging designs for beverages.