Tate & Lyle and DuPont ship propanediol from Tennessee plant

By Dave Nilles | October 26, 2006
A joint venture between DuPont and ethanol producer Tate & Lyle announced it has produced 1,3-propanediol from corn sugar at the venture's Loudon, Tenn., facility. The venture, DuPont Tate & Lyle Products LLC, said the $100 million project is the first to produce 1,3-propanediol from renewable resources.

The Loudon facility produces propanediol under the trademarked name Bio-PDO using a proprietary process developed by DuPont and Tate & Lyle. London-based food processing and industrial ingredients manufacturer Tate & Lyle operates a 60 MMgy ethanol plant in Loudon, Tenn. The company purchased the facility from AE Staley Manufacturing Co.

"Bio-PDO is a versatile ingredient for a number of products including specialty polymers such as Sorona, and also is well suited for cosmetics, liquid detergents and industrial applications like anti-freeze," said Steven Mirshak, president of DuPont Tate & Lyle Bio Products. "We are seeing strong demand for all of our grades of Bio-PDO due to its performance, biodegradable nature and ability to replace petroleum-derived products."

The first shipments of Bio-PDO were sent to DuPont for the manufacture of DuPont' Sorona polymer. Bio-PDO is a key ingredient for Sorona, DuPont's newest polymer family. Sorona can be used in carpet fibers, apparel, automotive and home furnishings, packaging and engineering thermoplastic resins. Manufacture of Sorona using Bio-PDO will begin in early 2007.

The production of Bio-PDO consumes 40 percent less energy and reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent versus petroleum-based propanediol, according to the venture.

The venture also announced the launch of two new brand names for Bio-PDO. The trademarked Zemea propanediol will be the name of products introduced in the personal care and liquid detergent. For industrial applications such as de-icing fluids, anti-freeze and heat transfer fluids, Bio-PDO will be branded Susterra propanediol.

Earlier this year, DuPont announced it had created a biofuels division and partnered with BP to develop, produce and market biobutanol, a four-carbon alcohol similar to ethanol.

Tate & Lyle has also announced plans for a 100 MMgy corn wet mill ethanol plant near Fort Dodge, Iowa. In addition to ethanol, the plant will product cationic starches for the paper industry. Cationic starches can be used to improve the internal bond and tensile strength during the paper-making process.

"Tate & Lyle scientists have been developing products from renewable resources such as corn, wheat and sugar for over 80 years and Bio-PDO is an excellent addition to our industrial ingredient portfolio," said D. Lynn Grider, president of Tate & Lyle's U.S. Food & Industrial Ingredients Division. "By continuing to invest in research, and through strategic partnerships, we can help meet the world's increasing demand for products from renewable resources that match or exceed the functionality of petroleum-based alternatives."

Dave Nilles is Online Editor for Ethanol Producer Magazine. Reach him at dnilles@bbibiofuels.com or (701) 373-0636.

Posted: 11:04 a.m. CST Monday, November 27, 2006