DuPont’s Innovations, Collaborations Addressing Dynamic Needs of Growing World
Wilmington, DE (Vocus) July 9, 2010 -- The world’s population will soon surpass 7 billion – adding more than 1 billion people in less than 12 years -- with more than 9 billion people expected on earth before mid-century. With the population growth, demand for natural resources is increasing, while availability is decreasing. The world is undergoing transformational change triggered by global population growth and the rising middle class in developing geographies. The world is demanding high performance, sustainable innovations to address these global challenges – or what many call “megatrends.”
July 11 marks the United Nations’ “World Population Day,” a time to recognize the dynamic needs associated with the growing global population. DuPont is responding to the world’s charge by sharpening the focus of its innovation engines to meet the increasing demand for food, decreasing dependence on fossil fuels, protecting lives and the environment and meeting emerging markets’ demand for science-based solutions. Today, thousands of DuPont people – including more than 8,500 DuPont scientists and engineers in every corner of the world – are collaborating with stakeholders and partners – including customers, governments and communities – to meet these complex challenges that will define the coming decades.
Increasing Food Production
Poverty, drought and climate change are among issues impacting agricultural productivity – requiring technology advances and new innovations for farmers. Most of the population growth is coming from the less economically developed areas. Innovation from better products and practices delivered through open markets is the best way to improve farming around the world, said DuPont Executive Vice President James C. Borel.
"Increasing farmers’ productivity in developing economies is critical to meeting the challenge of feeding the world, and innovation is a powerful catalyst for both,” Borel said. “Rising populations are calling for greater food sufficiency and the bulk of the food to feed the hungry needs to come from the place where the hungry live.”
DuPont is partnering with Africa Harvest Biotech Foundation International to help develop a more nutritious sorghum to help feed the 300 million people in rural Africa that rely on it daily for nourishment. The Africa Biofortified Sorghum project also trains African scientists on the technology used to develop the biofortified sorghum and navigate complex regulatory requirements through a visiting scientist program at DuPont business Pioneer Hi-Bred headquarters in Johnston, Iowa.
The Improved Maize for Africa Soils project led by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, in partnership with DuPont and others, is creating new maize varieties that use fertilizer more efficiently and help smallholder farmers achieve higher yields despite low or no nitrogen applications and poor soil conditions. The International Rice Research Institute (IRR) Scientific Know-How and Exchange Program, a partnership between DuPont and the IRRI, is working together to boost rice yields and improve the quality of rice in rural Asia.
Decreasing Dependence on Fossil Fuels
“The global demand for renewable energy is strong and growing,” DuPont Chair and CEO Ellen Kullman said. “DuPont is responding to the demand by collaborating with customers, governments and other stakeholders to deliver high-performance innovation that addresses head-on energy challenges today and into the future.” Those innovations include solar power and creating biofuels from renewable sources.
Solar power offers the unique potential to power the world, with ample energy to meet the needs of future generations, in a sustainable way. The critical milestone for solar energy is reaching grid parity with existing energy sources. DuPont, in collaboration with partners in industry, is very focused on meeting that milestone.
“Through our innovation and partnerships, we will be able to help create solar modules that run more efficiently, last longer and make solar energy a viable alternative for everyone,” added David B. Miller, president –DuPont Electronics & Communications.
DuPont is committed to bringing solar energy into the mainstream by reducing the cost of current photovoltaic systems by 50 – 60 percent, improving system efficiency, lifetime and system cost with new technical centers and labs around the world. DuPont also is working to improve cell metallization that dramatically increases the efficiency of a solar cell, innovating technology to reduce material consumption, introducing new cell and module designs, eliminating the need for some materials altogether, and finding ways to make modules lighter thereby reducing the cost of construction and installation.
When it comes to biofuels, DuPont is developing advanced biofuels such as biobutanol, which has higher energy density and can be a drop-in fuel for existing transportation fuel infrastructure as well as cellulosic ethanol from non-food feedstocks such as corn stover, energy grasses and algae. DuPont is leading product development that focuses on increasing yields for today’s farmers and biofuels producers. “DuPont has created a portfolio which enables the manufacture of more sustainable, lower carbon footprint fuels,” said Craig F. Binetti, president – DuPont Applied BioSciences.
“Our efforts are helping the industry to incorporate biofuels into transportation fuel, thereby decreasing the global reliance on petroleum and reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” he added.
In collaboration with others, DuPont is improving existing ethanol production through advantaged agriculture seed products, crop protection chemicals, and anti-bacterial control additives. DuPont also is developing and supplying new technologies to allow the cost-efficient conversion of cellulose to biofuel. All of these things add up to advanced biofuels with improved performance that can compete with petroleum.
Protecting People and the Environment
The basic human need to be safe continues to grow as the world’s population increases. The last decade has taught people around the world to expect the unexpected. Terrorism, crime, pandemics and troubled economies have increased people’s desire to take control of their lives and surroundings.
Science and innovation are at the core of developing systems and products that create safer and more environmentally sound production capabilities. By using its market-driven science, heritage and capabilities, DuPont continues to leverage its well-recognized and trusted innovations. The company is expanding current offerings with new technologies that provide the protection people seek everyday, both in their personal lives and at work. DuPont’s global leadership in safety and operational excellence is dedicated to saving lives in the workplace and to optimizing business productivity while managing risk to key assets throughout the world.
DuPont is committed to protecting those who protect us -- law enforcement, fire fighters and first responders -- with innovations that help them perform their jobs as safely as possible. Products such as DuPont™ Kevlar® and Nomex® advanced fibers and DuPont™ Tyvek® nonwovens are used in body armor, helmets, turnout gear and other protective equipment.
DuPont innovations help prevent the spread of infectious diseases in workplaces, hospitals and the general population. The company’s unique science-based capabilities around building innovation will continue to provide safe and sustainable structures required by global commercial and residential customers today and in the future.
DuPont – one of the first companies to publicly establish environmental goals 20 years ago – has broadened its sustainability commitments beyond internal footprint reduction to include market-driven targets for both revenue and research and development investment. The goals are tied directly to business growth, specifically to the development of safer and environmentally improved new products for key global markets.
DuPont (www.dupont.com) 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 90 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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