DuPont and Tate & Lyle, a British agro-processing company, have joined forces to produce biomass polymers from corn to replace petroleum-derived polymers, which began shipping in November and are better than petrochemical polymers, more environmentally friendly and economical, and more versatile. This biotechnology has been hailed as the most important invention since the introduction of nylon in 1935. The most interesting thing is that corn fields will be the oil fields of the future.
DuPont and Tate & Lily say biology-based polymer can be a direct replacement for petroleum polymers. They can be used in everything from food, clothing, carpet, paint, beverages, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, paper, packaging and construction. Our cars, my trucks, our homes, our business and industry will never be the same,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Boardman.
Tate & Lyle’s Tennessee-based plant has shipped 85 train cars of biomass polymer since November. It is expected to be at full capacity next year. 45 million kilograms are manufactured annually. British carpet names Mohawk and Toyota was first in the door for business.
Manufacturing biopolymers uses 40% less energy and emits 20% fewer greenhouse gases than petrochemical polymers. Save 15 million gallons of gasoline per year (27,000 cars used). Fabrics made with biomass polymers dye brighter, carpets are naturally stain resistant, and creams are kinder to the skin. The polymer is used as a de-icer for airport runways and is also self-biodegrading.
The basic manufacturing method of biopolymers is a special fermentation process using a modified E. coli bacterium to break down sucrose or glucose to produce biogenic propylene glycol (PDO). Propylene glycol is the matrix of all polymers or polyesters. The use of corn in the manufacture of biomass fuels has become a factor in the rise of global food prices. It has caused difficulties for poor countries around the world to purchase food. Now with the addition of biomass polymers, food imports may be even tighter in some countries. Experts say that biomass polymer is certainly environment-friendly but may affect many people’s three meals, which should be early idea to solve.