The 5th Annual Fast 50
20. Corn Star
DuPont CEO Charles Holliday has seen the future of the environment and it's . . . plastic. Not petrochemical-based plastic, mind you, but a corn-based version. DuPont is hardly without environmental sin (for example, it recently settled with the EPA over use of toxic chemicals in the production of Teflon), but the company has reduced its greenhouse-gas emissions by more than 65% since 1990, saving more than $2 billion in the process. Even Greenpeace told us DuPont has "raised the bar for the rest of corporate America." Now comes Sorona, which Holliday calls the "next nylon." By early 2007, Sorona will leave the test phase and, thanks to a biotech corn derivative known as "bio-PDO," use 40% less oil than old-school nylon. Sorona can already be turned into anything from underwear to carpeting; by 2016 it could be everywhere from cosmetics to Kevlar.
- DuPont expects to sell more than $200 million worth of Sorona annually by 2010.
- A distillation plant under construction in Loudon, Tennessee, will use approximately 6.4 million bushels of corn to produce 100 million pounds of bio-PDO.
- Growing 6.4 million bushels of corn requires 40,000 acres.
- Replacing 240 million pounds of nylon with Sorona will reduce greenhouse emissions equal to the yearly output of 115,000 cars.
- The global textile and carpet market consumes 5.4 billion pounds of nylon annually.