Dupont Moving Toward Bio-Chemicals
DuPont is forging ahead of other companies by actively researching bio-based raw materials. The company has allocated nearly 10 percent of its $1.3 billion research budget to extracting ingredients from carbohydrates — things that grow and can be infinitely replaced — rather than from hydrocarbons, which are mined or drilled and readily depleted.
DuPont already makes 10 percent of its products from nonpetrochemical substances, and expects to increase that to 25 percent by 2010. By then Dupont hopes to bring in $3 billion in revenue from bio-chemistry.
The new program can insulate DuPont from rising in gas and oil prices. It will play well with shareholders who worry about the harmful effect of extracting and burning oil. Bio-based products can also have advantages over petrochemical products. The corn-based propane diol, a product used in carpet fibers that DuPont will begin selling this spring, offers better dye absorption and stain resistance than the petrochemical version DuPont now sells.