DuPont Industrial Biosciences and Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) have announced a new process to produce furan dicarboxylic methyl ester (FDME) from fructose.

FDME is one of the 12 building blocks identified by the US Department of Energy and can support production of 100% renewable chemicals and polymers used in the packaging industry.

It is a high-purity derivative of furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA) and can be converted into bio-based chemicals or materials that can deliver high performance in a number of applications for textiles, engineering plastics and many other industries, in addition to packaging.

"ADM is an agribusiness powerhouse with strong technology development capabilities."

This new technology solution is claimed to be more efficient and simple than traditional conversion approaches. It is expected to reduce production costsby using less energy and increased yields.

FDME is used to produce polytrimethylene furandicarboxylate (PTF), which is a 100% renewable and recyclable polymer used for making bottles and other beverage packages.

PTF increases gas-barrier properties compared to other polyesters, which makes it a widely used option across the beverage packaging industry since it can improve shelf life of products.

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DuPont biomaterials global business director Simon Herriot said: "This molecule is a game-changing platform technology. It will enable cost-efficient production of a variety of 100% 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."

The partners intend to set up an integrated demonstration plant at Decatur, Illinois, US. Expected to have an annual capacity of 60t, the plant will supply its product quantities for testing and research to potential customers.