duPont in­no­va­tions

DuPont’s his­tory in in­no­va­tions con­tin­ues to this day.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - FRONT PAGE - sto­ries by cLARissA cHOu

NY­LON, Rayon, Ly­cra, Neo­prene, Te­flon, poly­eth­yl­ene, cel­lo­phane – these house­hold names can all be traced to one com­pany: DuPont.

For more than 200 years, DuPont has in­tro­duced in­no­va­tive ma­te­ri­als to ful­fil ev­ery imag­in­able hu­man need, in­clud­ing those we didn’t even know we needed such as ny­lon hosiery or Ly­cra, the stretchy fi­bre that rev­o­lu­tionised cloth­ing (and en­abled us to squeeze into those skinny den­ims), or even graf­fiti-re­sis­tant coat­ings.

Founded in 1802 in Wilm­ing­ton, Delaware, DuPont first pro­duced black pow­der for ex­plo­sives. By the early 1900s, the com­pany’s fo­cus shifted to chem­i­cals and ma­te­ri­als to meet the chang­ing needs of con­sumers and busi­nesses. To­day, it delivers in­no­va­tions in food and nutrition, health­care, ap­parel, safety and se­cu­rity, con­struc­tion, elec­tron­ics and trans­porta­tion. In fact, most homes and work­places around the world have dozens of in­no­va­tions made with DuPont-cre­ated ma­te­ri­als.

Mar­ket-driven sci­ence is what steers the com­pany, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Ellen Kull­man told jour­nal­ists last month at the com­pany head­quar­ters in Wilm­ing­ton. “Through our sci­ence and technology, our in­no­va­tions pro­vide real so­lu­tions for real needs while driv­ing growth and max­imis­ing share­holder value.”

As the world gets crowded, there will be more de­mand for food, en­ergy and greater se­cu­rity as well as growths in new mar­kets. Re­spond­ing to these so-called “mega­trends” is the cur­rent fo­cus of DuPont, says Kull­man.

Of the US$1.4bil (RM5.04bil) spent on re­search and devel­op­ment last year, three­fourths were di­rected at the four global chal­lenges: in­creas­ing food pro­duc­tiv­ity, de­creas­ing de­pen­dence on fos­sil fu­els, pro­tect­ing peo­ple and the en­vi­ron­ment, and re­spond­ing to growth in emerg­ing mar­kets such as China, In­dia and Asean. The rest of the R&D ex­pen­di­ture went to elec­tronic ma­te­ri­als, de­signer sur­faces, coat­ings and chem­i­cals.

While much of the re­search takes place at DuPont’s Ex­per­i­men­tal Sta­tion in Wilm­ing­ton,

DuPont sci­en­tist Paul Vi­ita­nen de­vel­ops bio­cat­a­lysts which are used to de­rive ethanol from corn stover. about two-and-a-half hours’ drive from New York, the com­pany also has 75 other re­search fa­cil­i­ties, of which 35 are in 11 other coun­tries. The com­pany’s more than 8,500 sci­en­tists and en­gi­neers em­ploy cut­ting-edge sci­ence to de­velop high-yield seeds, bet­ter crop pro­tec­tion meth­ods, nu­tri­tious food, al­ter­na­tive en­ergy tech­nolo­gies and new pro­tec­tive ma­te­ri­als for food and peo­ple.

The year 2009 was a record-break­ing year for DuPont in in­no­va­tion, re­veals ex­ec­u­tive vice-pres­i­dent and chief in­no­va­tion of­fi­cer, Tom Con­nelly. “We launched more than 1,400 new prod­ucts, a 60% in­crease over the pre­vi­ous year, and filed over 2,000 US pa­tents.”

To date, DuPont has been awarded pa­tents for more than 35,000 in­ven­tions – that’s one new in­ven­tion ev­ery other day for 208 years.

Re­search ef­fort is now un­der way in ar­eas that in­clude nan­otech­nol­ogy, emerg­ing dis­plays tech­nolo­gies, crop ge­net­ics, and bio­ma­te­ri­als pro­duced from re­new­able re­sources such as corn. These de­vel­op­ments could lead to foods that help pre­vent dis­eases and brit­tle bones, “smart” ma­te­ri­als that can ad­just per­for­mance on their own, mi­croor­gan­isms that pro­duce biodegrad­able prod­ucts and in­no­va­tive ma­te­ri­als.

Re­plac­ing petroleum

In line with its sus­tain­abil­ity goals, the com­pany is skewed to­wards de­vel­op­ing prod­ucts that cre­ate en­ergy ef­fi­ciency and sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce green­house gas emis­sions. It es­ti­mates that these prod­ucts will con­trib­ute

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