Partners to develop and commercialise polysaccharide technology

Article by Amanda Jasi

DUPONT Nutrition & Biosciences and global chemicals company Kemira have partnered to develop and commercialese DuPont’s technology for producing engineered polysaccharides.

According to DuPont, structural polysaccharides such as cellulose have historically been the “backbone” of early material science for application in fibres, films, and thermoplastics. DuPont’s technology uses enzyme-catalysed polymerisation to produce engineered polysaccharides as typically found in nature but with high purity, designed structural material properties, and particle morphologies.

The collaborators aim to bring DuPont’s technology to market, thereby taking a step towards a more circular economy and sustainable future for materials.

As part of the agreement, DuPont will share its newest material platform technology with Kemira. The technology uses enzymes to engineer polysaccharide materials directly from simple sugars. Kemira will provide application development expertise and market access that will allow the companies to jointly manufacture products for Kemira’s strategic markets, which include paper and board, water treatment, and the oil and gas industries.

According to Antti Matula, Senior Vice President of Global Product Lines & Business Development for Kemira Pulp & Paper, the novel materials could be used in multiple applications. These include municipal and industrial water treatment as well as packaging and board applications to improve, for example, strength and barrier properties.

DuPont’s polymerisation-based product portfolio is readily biodegradable and supports recycling or repulping of various paper and pulp-based materials streams, such as in packing end uses. DuPont and Kemira’s partnership is expected to bring new, biobased, and biodegradable product lines to Kemira’s strategic markets.

For some applications, biodegradable products created using DuPont’s process avoid concerns about microplastic formation, reducing the impact of leakage into the environment.

The materials platform is expected to deliver a series of key requirements required within a circular economy. The platform would help to avoid waste, expand the scope of recyclable materials, and provide biodegradable product options for a range of material applications.

DuPont and Kemira say they are committed to performance-driven product innovation as well as providing leading sustainability and breakthrough environmental performance.

The underlying technology of the latest platform has been demonstrated at integrated pilot operations and is ready to advance to full commercial scale.

Antti Matula, Senior Vice President of Global Product Lines & Business Development for Kemira Pulp & Paper, commented: “The versatility and scalability of this exciting new platform will allow us to leverage the technology across our key product lines.”

“Sustainability is one of the main drivers of Kemira’s long-term growth and our target is to reach biobased revenue of over €500m [US$614.1m] by 2030.”

Christian Lenges, Venture Director for DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences, said that the company expects its partnership with Kemira will transform industrial and packaging products and provide sustainable material options for a range of end use markets.

He added: “We look forward to entering the development and commercialisation phase with Kemira, who will enable access to a range of key markets for these new engineered polysaccharide materials which are not only renewable but higher-performing compared to traditional materials.”

Article by Amanda Jasi

Staff Reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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