DuPont and Tate & Lyle Form Bio-Products Joint Venture

DuPont and Tate & Lyle Form Bio-Products Joint Venture

DuPont and Tate & Lyle PLC have announced a joint venture to create products from renewable resources such as corn for numerous applications including clothing, interiors, engineered polymers, and textile fibers.

The new company -- DuPont Tate & Lyle BioProducts, LLC -- is equally owned by DuPont and Tate & Lyle and will be based in Wilmington, Del. The company plans to construct its initial commercial manufacturing plant adjacent to an existing facility in Loudon, Tenn., with startup scheduled for 2006. A pilot facility in Decatur, Ill. has been operating for several years.

The joint venture will use a proprietary fermentation and purification process developed jointly by DuPont and Tate & Lyle to produce 1,3 propanediol (PDO), the key building block for DuPont Sorona polymer. As DuPont's newest polymer platform, Sorona offers unique properties such as stain-resistance, exceptional softness, comfort stretch and recovery, and UV- and chlorine-resistance when compared to polyester and nylon. Sorona can be used in a variety of applications including textile apparel, interiors, engineering resins, and packaging. The new bio-based technology uses less energy and employs renewable resources -- replacing the need for traditional petrochemicals now used to produce 1,3 propanediol (PDO).

"As a science company, DuPont is committed to business and research initiatives that meet customer and market needs while delivering both shareholder and societal value," said John Ranieri, vice president and general manager, DuPont Bio-Based Materials. "Sorona is an excellent example of putting science to work by integrating biology with materials science. Sorona combines the emerging discipline of metabolic engineering (the capability for biology to produce valuable products) with the leading polymer engineering capabilities of DuPont."

"The joint venture is further evidence of Tate & Lyle's strength in innovation, our success in developing key industrial partnerships and our ability to generate value-added product growth. It is a natural fit with our core skills in fermentation of natural products," said Iain Ferguson, chief executive, Tate & Lyle PLC. "Partnerships are an important component of our strategy to build our business and we are delighted that our relationship with DuPont continues to advance. This is also a good example of the excellence of Tate & Lyle's research and development capability in delivering a product from renewable resources that can selectively replace those made from petrochemicals."

John D. Halberstadt of DuPont has been named president of the joint venture. He will report to a board of managers with representatives from both parent companies.

Sorona is currently manufactured from petroleum-based PDO, and is available commercially from DuPont. It is used to produce clothing and fabrics with superior softness, dyeability, and a natural stretch. Bio-PDO corn-derived chemical and Sorona polymer made from Bio-PDO will be available in 2006.

Last year, the U.S Environmental Protection Agency presented DuPont with its annual "Presidential Green Chemistry Award" for the company's research leading to the development of the bio-PDO process.