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First bio-based FDME pilot plant opens

By Scott Jenkins |

The world’s first pilot plant for manufacturing bio-based furan dicarboxylic methyl ester (FDME) began operating last month in Decatur, Ill. A collaboration between DuPont Industrial Biosciences (Wilmington, Del.; www.biosciences.dupont.com) and Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM; Chicago, Ill.; www.adm.com), the 60-ton/yr pilot facility represents the next step in an ongoing commercialization process for bio-based FDME (see Chem. Eng., March 2016, p. 9; www.chemengonline.com/collaboration-lowers-cost-bio-based-fdme-process). Bio-based FDME is made from cornstarch-derived fructose starting material, and will be used to make a range of bio-based chemicals and plastics. The fructose is dehydrated and the products from the reaction are oxidized to form furan dicarboxylic acid (FDCA). The FDCA is then reacted with methanol, resulting in FDME. 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 DuPont is polytrimethylene furandicarboxylate (PTF), a novel polyester also made from DuPont’s proprietary Bio-PDO (1,3-propanediol). PTF is a 100% renewable polymer, DuPont and…
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