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DuPont Pushes for a 50%-Plus Renewable Plastics Line

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Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Drop-In Replacement
Ann R. Thryft   8/19/2013 12:45:45 PM
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You're welcome, Dave. Yes, palm oil is associated with several problems: it's unhealthy to consume, and logging them causes a lot of environmental and economic problems. Which is one reason DuPont, and others, are working on multiple alternative feedstocks.

Dave Palmer
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Re: Drop-In Replacement
Dave Palmer   8/16/2013 2:56:34 PM
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Ann, that's interesting about Evonik developing alternative feedstocks for nylon-12.  Thanks for sharing the link.  Of course, palm oil is not free from controversy, either.  Environmentalists have been campaigning against palm oil, because of rainforests being destroyed to make way for palm plantations.  But unless some kind of alternate feedstock for nylon-12 is developed, OEMs are going to be aprehensive about another supply chain disruption.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Drop-In Replacement
Ann R. Thryft   8/15/2013 12:09:26 PM
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Dave, interesting question. No one at DuPont said anything about a connection with the nylon-12 shortage. As of last December, the shortage was officially over when Evonik went back online. But that's an interesting question you've raised. My understanding is that it's been a mix of some yes, some no, as far as shifting to a bioplastic version. Interestingly, the company whose plant had the fire, Evonik, has opened a plant to produce a renewable alternative to its nylon 12 monomer: http://corporate.evonik.com/en/media/press_releases/Pages/news-details.aspx?newsid=37328

Dave Palmer
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Re: Drop-In Replacement
Dave Palmer   8/12/2013 1:33:22 PM
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Ann, did DuPont mention last year's nylon-12 shortage as a driving force in the adoption of bioplastics? You covered this in an excellent article at the time.  It would be interesting to know if most of the OEM's went back to nylon-12 as soon as it became available again, or if any companies adopted bio-based alternatives on a permanent basis.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Drop-In Replacement
Ann R. Thryft   8/12/2013 1:07:53 PM
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Being based on non-food feedstocks is now considered an essential characteristic of second-generation biochemicals that are being turned into biofuels and bioplastics: in fact, both non-food and those that don't compete with food plants for soil and water. This shift is several years old but has only been discussed in broad public forums more recently.



Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Drop-In Replacement
Ann R. Thryft   8/12/2013 1:05:05 PM
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Greg, I completely agree with you, and with Dave, about the need for drop-in replacements performance-wise. Fortunately, so does DuPont.

Greg M. Jung
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Re: Drop-In Replacement
Greg M. Jung   8/9/2013 10:49:25 PM
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Yes, I also agree with you on the non-food source emphasis for their raw materials.  I think this is a great strategy for them and sets the bar for everyone else in this market space.

Dave Palmer
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Re: Drop-In Replacement
Dave Palmer   8/9/2013 7:13:44 PM
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@Greg: I agree.  As much as OEMs would like to be able to present a "green" image, they are unlikely to take a risk on a material that doesn't have equal or better properties than the incumbent material.

I'm also extremely glad to hear so much emphasis from DuPont on non-food sources.  This is a moral and ethical issue, yet it wasn't even part of the discussion a few years ago.

It's also pretty amazing that any company, even DuPont, is capable of setting a 15-year goal.  These days, most company's plans don't extend much past the next fiscal year.   It will be interesting to see to what extent DuPont follows through on this commitment.

Greg M. Jung
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Drop-In Replacement
Greg M. Jung   8/9/2013 3:53:21 PM
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In addition to being green and using renewable resources, I also appreciate the goal of making these polymers "drop-in" replacements.  This could significantly accelerate the adoption of these new polymers if the materials properties are the same.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Renewable must be profitable
Ann R. Thryft   8/9/2013 12:32:38 PM
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You're welcome, Rob. To a certain extent, "what's good for business" depends on attitudes and customs, as well as practices, and also on long-term instead of short-term thinking. Ford's realization, for example, that it could save money several different ways by recycling materials is a good example.

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