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Collaboration lowers cost for bio-based FDME process

By Chemical Engineering |

A partnership between DuPont Industrial Biosciences (Wilmington, Del.; www.dupont.com) and Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM; Chicago, Ill.; www.adm.com) has developed a less costly and more efficient process for producing bio-based furan dicarboxylic methyl ester (FDME) from the six-carbon sugar fructose. Applications for the renewable material could be in packaging, textiles, high-performance plastics and others, the companies say. FDME is a high-purity derivative of furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA), one of 12 building blocks identified by the U.S. Dept. of Energy that can be converted into a number of high-value, bio-based chemicals. Despite considerable effort, an economically viable process for FDME had not been achieved previously. “Some of the hurdles [to commercial-scale FDME] in the past have been low yields and high capital requirements, as well as the ability to provide materials with polymer-grade purity,” explains Simon Herriott, global business director for biomaterials at DuPont. DuPont and ADM were able to increase the cost-effectiveness of the process by integrating process steps to reduce capital cost requirements and lower energy use while simultaneously boosting yield. The FDME process begins with fructose from…
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