DuPont Nanofiber Technology for Hybrid Membranes Wins IDEA Award

Two of the latest technologies from DuPont, one based on bio-based technology and the other based on nanofiber science – DuPont™ Sorona® polymer and DuPont Hybrid Membrane Technology (HMT) respectively – have received prestigious IDEA Achievement Awards, presented at IDEA07, the International Engineered Fabrics Conference and Expo in Miami Beach, Fla.

DuPont™ Sorona® is the first bio-based, renewably sourced polymer from DuPont. It contains 37 percent renewably sourced materials derived from corn. A breakthrough in polymer science, DuPont scientists developed a way to make Bio-PDO™, the key Sorona® ingredient, from corn using a new biological process. Whether it’s textile fibers and fabrics for home interiors and apparel, carpeting or a variety of packaging applications such as films, sealants, foams, rigid containers, Sorona® imparts distinctive, value-added characteristics.

Produced using a proprietary new spinning process, DuPont Hybrid Membrane Technology goes beyond the limits of today’s synthetic and microglass materials with nanofiber media that contain continuous polymeric filaments with a diameter between 100 nanometers and one micron. DuPont Hybrid Membrane Technology makes greater, more selective performance possible across a variety of air and liquid filtration applications, and adds breathability and protection to apparel and bedding products.

As one of the latest innovations from DuPont, Hybrid Membrane Technology (HMT) is a unique offering for air and liquid filtration that is poised to fill the performance gap between traditional nonwovens and microporous films. It also adds unique breathability and protection to apparel and bedding products. When used for energy storage, HMT can significantly improve safety, durability, power and energy performance in a variety of battery and capacitor applications.

“We are proud to be recognized by our peers with this important award, which is even more significant as we only introduced HMT in the second half 2006,” said Matthew Trerotola, vice president and general manager - DuPont Nonwovens. “We believe that nanofiber science that results in developments such as HMT will play a key role in bridging performance gaps of traditional materials, and will lead to advances such as improved air quality, lower energy costs and extended filter life. There are many significant applications we are exploring for this exciting new innovation.”

“To be recognized by an international organization for the work we have done on Sorona® is fantastic,” said Peter Hemken, vice president and general manager – DuPont Bio-Based Materials. “We are seeing increasingly strong demand for materials produced using renewable feedstocks in a variety of market and industry segments, especially those where Sorona® offers superior performance benefits such as permanent and natural stain resistance in residential and automotive carpeting and enhanced attributes in apparel. Work is currently under way to introduce additional high performance, renewably sourced materials that will further reduce our dependency on petrochemicals.”

DuPont discovered Sorona® in the 1940s but did not commercialize it at the time because of the high cost of the key ingredient propanediol (PDO). A seven-year research program that began in 1993 concluded with the development of a process to make Bio-PDO™ from corn sugar. In 2004, a joint venture between DuPont and Tate & Lyle was formed to build, manufacture and sell this new renewably sourced monomer. The world’s first Bio-PDO™ plant in Loudon, Tenn., began commercial production in November 2006. The process to make Bio-PDO™ consumes 40 percent less total energy and reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent versus petroleum-based propanediol. Production of 100 million pounds of Bio-PDO™ through the DuPont Tate & Lyle Bio Products joint venture will save the equivalent of 13.5 million gallons of gasoline per year, or enough to fuel 24,000 cars annually.

The awards, which are co-sponsored by the Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry (INDA) and Nonwovens Industry magazine, honor new product and technical developments since IDEA04 in five categories: Roll Goods, Short-Life End Product, Long-Life End Product, Raw Materials and Machinery/Equipment. Winners were determined by a vote of industry members.

DuPont – one of the first companies to publicly establish environmental goals 16 years ago – has broadened its sustainability commitments beyond internal footprint reduction to include market-driven targets for both revenue and research and development investment like Hybrid Membrane Technology and DuPont™ Sorona®. The goals are tied directly to business growth, specifically to the development of safer and environmentally improved new products for key global markets.

DuPont is a science-based products and services company. Founded in 1802, DuPont puts science to work by creating sustainable solutions essential to a better, safer, healthier life for people everywhere. Operating in more than 70 countries, DuPont offers a wide range of innovative products and services for markets including agriculture and food; building and construction; communications; and transportation.

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