Mitsubishi to Make New Plastic from Corn

Mitsubishi Chemical of Japan (U.S. office in White Plains, N.Y.) is building a plant to make succinic acid by bacterial fermentation of corn.

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Mitsubishi Chemical of Japan (U.S. office in White Plains, N.Y.) is building a plant to make succinic acid by bacterial fermentation of corn. The goal is to make a “Green Sustainable Plastic,” polybutylene succinate, using succinic acid and butanediol. This biodegradable polyester, dubbed GS Pla, is said to be much softer and more pliable than polylactic acid (PLA), a commercial bioplastic also derived from corn. GS Pla is reportedly as soft as polyethylene but can be made harder like polypropylene by adding fillers. Mulch film is one intended use. Mitsubishi aims to start commercial production early this year. Mitsubishi Motors Corp., Tokyo, is already developing polybutylene succinate reinforced with bamboo fiber as a replacement for PP in auto interiors. It will be used in a minicar to be launched in Japan in 2007.

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