CovationBio PDO Celebrates 20 Years of Biobased Solutions

By CovationBio PDO
CovationBio PDO, the maker of Susterra® PDO & Zemea® PDO, is enabling even more brands throughout the value chain to improve their environmental impact

Primient Covation LLC, operating its PDO business under the name CovationBio PDO (formerly DuPont Tate & Lyle Bio Products LLC), proudly announces 2024 is the 20-year anniversary of the first investment to commercialise Susterra® propanediol (known as Susterra® PDO or Susterra 1,3 propanediol) and Zemea® propanediol (known as Zemea® PDO or Zemea 1,3 propanediol), the high-performance, renewably sourced biomaterials helping to reduce global dependence on petroleum-based materials across a variety of consumer and industrial applications.

CovationBio PDO is the world’s first and largest producer of 100% bio-based 1,3 propanediol. By using nature as a source, CovationBio PDO transforms a plant-based feedstock into high performance products containing Susterra® propanediol and Zemea® propanediol. Susterra® and Zemea® are registered trademarks of Primient Covation LLC.

Now, with a 77,000t (Metric Tonnes) capacity, and plans for a future expansion on the horizon, CovationBio PDO is ready to answer the growing global demand for renewably-sourced solutions across a variety of industries including adhesives, apparel, coatings, cosmetics, foods & flavors, footwear, heat-transfer fluids, home care products, inks, personal care products, and pharmaceuticals.

Susterra® PDO and Zemea® PDO are innovative technologies that enhance product performance and are sustainable alternatives to petroleum-derived 1,3-propanediol, 1,4 butanediol, ethylene glycol, and propylene glycol. Susterra® PDO and Zemea® PDO are made from 100% regeneratively grown dent corn from the Midwestern U.S. and processed in Loudon, Tennessee. 

For two decades, CovationBio PDO has built a legacy as a versatile, scalable, sustainable solution and trusted partner for international brands. According to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal about Responsible Consumption and Production (SDG 12), “If the global population reaches 9.8 billion by 2050, the equivalent of almost three planets will be required to provide the natural resources needed to sustain current lifestyles. It’s in [a] businesses’ [best] interest to find new solutions that enable sustainable consumption and production patterns.”

“Susterra® and Zemea® 1,3 propanediol, give our customers an option to transition to a 100% biorenewable, raw material ingredient based on the C14, ASTM 6866 standard method. It also enables our customers to drive an overall reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and lower their carbon footprint, which contributes significantly to the global 2030-2050 climate goals,” said John Hurban, vice president of global marketing and sales at CovationBio PDO. “In addition to the positive environmental impacts of Susterra® PDO and Zemea® PDO, our customers have access to a multi-functional molecule that has proven performance enhancements for their products. Since our inception in 2004, our team has continuously met our customers' needs, and the market's needs, with science-based data and continued expansion of the plant. CovationBio PDO is in the process of planning its next 33000t expansion. We’re excited to be part of this journey with our value chain partners to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.”

John Hurban, Vice President of Global Marketing and Sales at CovationBio PDO

In its 20 year history, CovationBio PDO products Susterra® PDO and Zemea® PDO have served as a responsible choice for forward thinking companies looking to reduce their carbon footprint and shift to renewable materials to meet ESG goals. They’ve also been the catalyst for many industry firsts. Highlights from the past 20-years include:

2000 DuPont, in association with Genencor, develops a patented process to create 1,3 propanediol (PDO).

2004 DuPont and Tate & Lyle enter a joint venture, DuPont Tate & Lyle Bio Products LLC, investing US$100m to commercialise a new, high performance, renewably sourced biomaterial.

2006 DuPont Tate & Lyle Bio Products LLC begins production of 1,3 propanediol at its facility in Loudon,Tennessee, USA.

2007 Zemea® propanediol becomes a key ingredient in Terra Natural’s renewably sourced, non-sticky texture deodorants.

2008 Susterra® propanediol launches into high-performance unsaturated polyester resins for use in the construction, marine, and automotive industries.

2016 The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) certifies Zemea® PDO and Susterra® PDO as 100% bio-based ingredients under its BioPreferred® program.

2017 Reebok announces its Cotton + Corn initiative designed to develop sustainable products “made from things that grow” and launched the first plant-based shoe utilizing Susterra® propanediol to create the sole.

2019 DuPont Tate & Lyle Bio Products LLC increases production by 35 million pounds.

2022 Ownership change occurs.  The joint venture of DuPont Tate & Lyle LLC changes its name to Primient Covation LLC and begins to operate its PDO business under the company name CovationBio PDO as the producer of Susterra® PDO and Zemea® PDO.

2022 CovationBio announces its work with Truterra, LLC and Primient to support regenerative farming—specifically for farmed corn. The program currently includes over 1.2 million acres of sustainably grown row crops in the U.S. Midwest, including dent corn, the ingredient used to make Susterra® PDO and Zemea® PDO.

2023 Saucony launches the corn-powered Triumph RFG featuring a midsole made from 55-percent Susterra® propanediol. It’s Saucony’s most sustainable shoe to date, making an immediate impact to reduce its environmental footprint. 

2024 CovationBio PDO continues to be the largest global producer of 100% plant-based 1,3 propanediol and begins plans for a forthcoming 33000t expansion.

Susterra® PDO Features 

  • A petroleum-free, high-performing, sustainable solution for a wide range of polyurethane applications
  • Performance polymers in automotive, fashion, footwear, and sports. Examples of Susterra® PDO in action: 
  • Saucony Midsole with 55% Susterra® based content in a performance running shoe under the Run For Good line
  • Insite® Ecocomfort® insoles with up to 60% Susterra® based content used across a variety of footwear brands and in aftermarket
  • Hyosung Spandex® for active wear usage adopted by Pangaia and other fashion brands
  • Artificial leather for shoes and car interiors
  • Monomer building block for coatings and resins for industrial and wood applications or as bio-solvent in architectural coatings replacing petroleum-based materials. Susterra® PDO can also be used in adhesives and inks.
  • In functional fluids such as heat transfer and engine coolants Susterra® PDO provides favourable viscosity and thermal stability characteristics 

Zemea® PDO Features

  • Personal Care: A solution to remove petroleum from the formula while offering sensory characteristics that are gentler for the body
  • Home Care: A plant-based bio-solvent for household cleaning products replacing petroleum based glycols
  • Food & Flavors: Zemea® PDO reduces bitterness and enhances sweetness in food and beverage products (limited use in USA)
  • Pharmaceuticals: A bio-alternative for petroleum-based glycols

Certifications for Susterra® PDO and Zemea® PDO:

  • CDP™  
  • EPA Safer Choice
  • Halal® 
  • Kosher 
  • Microbiome® friendly
  • Natural Products Association Certified
  • NSF® 
  • Tracegains
  • Transparency-One
  • USDA Certified Biobased Product
  • USP™  
  • Vegan

CovationBio PDO at Sustainability LIVE New York

Connecting the world’s sustainability leaders, innovators and pioneers, Sustainability LIVE will return in two months, to bring to you — Sustainability LIVE New York, feauturing Jessica Gallagher, Susterra® Marketing Manager, Americas, CovationBio™ PDO. 

Jessica Gallagher

Jessica's talk, titled 100% Bio-Based and Responsibly Sourced Glycol for Data Center Process Cooling will explore how data centers energy requirements are rising due to an increase in power density caused by new technology including AI. Servers with increased processing capabilities are causing excess heat requiring new cooling solutions to help them to function properly. Selecting sustainable materials in process cooling fluids is one way to support data center energy efficiency and to decrease a facilities’ carbon footprint. Susterra® Propanediol is a 100% plant-based, renewable, and responsibly sourced glycol option to support process cooling to keep up with growing energy demand.

Susterra® PDO is a building block or ingredient that enhances product performance and is a sustainable alternative to propylene glycol and ethylene glycol in process cooling applications. Susterra® PDO is processed via fermentation and refined in Loudon, Tennessee from regeneratively grown dent corn from the Midwestern US. Susterra® Propanediol supports companies short and long-term goals to source renewable materials and reduce carbon footprint.

Join us at Sustainability LIVE New York on June 3-4 2024, to deep dive into sustainability strategies, supply chain and procurement sustainability, the future of ESG, and net zero and planet. Across the two days, Sustainability LIVE New York will serve as the ultimate virtual platform to connect with like-minded peers and actively contribute to crafting a sustainable future. 

To get your tickets for Sustainability LIVE New York, click here.


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