Materials: Broad Range of New PLA Bioplastics to Fortify Global Market
Total Corbion PLA’s new production plant is up and running.
The start-up of the long-awaited 165 million lb/yr Total Corbion PLA production plant in Rayong, Thailand, a 50/50 joint venture of Total and Corbion of The Netherlands, has commenced. Total Corbion PLA (U.S. office in New York, N.Y.) sources confirm that the plant has successfully produced Luminy PLA resins. The start-up marks a major milestone for both the joint venture and the bioplastics market. With this additional 165 million lb/yr facility, the global production of PLA bioplastics will increase by almost 50%, to 480 million lb/yr. PLA is a fast-growing polymer market with an estimated annual growth rate of 10% to 15%.
The new facility will produce a broad range of Luminy PLA resins from renewable, non-GMO sugarcane sourced locally in Thailand: from standard PLA to innovative, hig- heat PLA and PDLA with unique properties. The products will meet customers’ needs in a wide range of markets notably packaging, consumer goods, 3D printing, fibers and automotive and are specifically optimized for extrusion, thermoforming, injection molding and fiber spinning processes. At the end of their useful life, PLA products can be mechanically or chemically recycled, or in some cases composted and returned to the soil as fertilizer.
Total Corbion PLA will leverage on the integration with its lactide plant, the monomer required for the production of PLA, that has simultaneously been expanded to 200 million lb/yr production capacity. Furthermore, the 2-million lb/yr PLA pilot plant, which has been operational since the end of 2017, is located on the same site and will be used for product development.
“The start-up of this state-of-the-art plant establishes Total Corbion PLA as a world-scale PLA bioplastic producer, ideally located to serve growing markets from Asia Pacific to Europe and the Americas. The subsequent increase in global PLA capacity will enable manufacturers and brand owners to move into the circular economy and produce biobased products with lower carbon footprints and multiple end of life options,” said Stephane Dion, CEO of the company.
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