More Moves into Biopolymers

More resin makers are joining the action in biopolymers made from renewable resources.

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More resin makers are joining the action in biopolymers made from renewable resources. Teijin Ltd. of Japan has bought half of NatureWorks LLC, Minnetonka, Minn., the world’s only large-scale maker of polylactic acid (PLA) resin, from Cargill Inc., Minneapolis. Teijin will use its expertise in plastics to help develop new applications for PLA. With NatureWorks’ PLA capacity virtually sold out, other sources of supply are emerging. Total Petrochemicals of Brussels, Belgium, has agreed with Galactic, also of Brussels, to form a joint venture called Futerro to make PLA. Total produces PP, PE, and PS (U.S. office in Houston). Galactic is a leading maker of lactic acid and has a plant in Milwaukee. A pilot plant capable of 3 million lb/yr will be built near Tournai, Belgium, by 2009. Purac of Diemen, Netherlands, which claims to be the global market leader in lactic acid, will offer both D and L lactides as monomers to producers of PLA. Purac says using lactides instead of lactic acid lowers the technical hurdles to making PLA. Telles, Lowell, Mass., the new joint venture of Metabolix and Archer Daniels Midland Co., is getting company in production of polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) biopolymers. Meredian Inc., Bainbridge, Ga., has purchased the technology portfolio for PHA production developed by Procter & Gamble Co., Cincinnati. Meredian plans to begin construction this coming year in the Southeast on the first of four PHA plants that will have combined capacity of over 600 million lb/yr. Meredian was formed this year. An affiliated company, DaniMer Scientific, also in Bainbridge, produces PLA-based alloys for film, extrusion coating, injection molding, and thermoforming. Another affiliate, Seluma Technologies, offers a proprietary line of polycondensation biopolymers. Meredian: (229) 243-7075 •

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