InterviewBioplastics JV AmberWorks to sell resins at $2-2.50/lb

16 February 2012 20:55  [Source: ICIS news]

NEW YORK (ICIS)--AmberWorks, the new US-based bioplastics joint venture formed by polylactic acid (PLA) producer NatureWorks and bio-succinic acid producer BioAmber, will start selling compounded PLA and polybutylene succinate (PBS) resin grades at $2-2.50/lb, an executive at NatureWorks said on Thursday.

“The costs of our blends are similar to the price of biopolymer compounds that are already commercially available in the market,” said Steve Davies, global marketing director for NatureWorks, in an interview with ICIS.

“We are encouraged with this starting point given that we are still at small-scale production compared to other biopolymer compounds currently produced,” he added.

AmberWorks will develop the PLA/PBS compound and will manufacture the bio-based resins through several toll compounders, he said.

The blended resins will be marketed exclusively through NatureWorks’ global commercial organisation.

NatureWorks is already offering samples of developmental PLA/PBS blended grades aimed at thermoforming and injection-moulding processes.

“The resins are specifically designed for food service ware applications such as hot cups, hot cup lids, plates and cutlery,” said Davies.

Based on market interest, further applications beyond food service will be assessed over the coming 12-24 months.

AmberWorks will use the use the PLA/PBS compounding intellectual property owned by Sinoven Biopolymers, a subsidiary of BioAmber.

Davies said the PBS component will be sourced through third party manufacturers.

PBS is a biodegradable polymer manufactured using succinic acid and 1,4 butanediol (BDO).

Current PBS producers worldwide include Japan-based Mitsubishi Chemical and Showa Denko, South Korea-based Samsung Fine Chemical and a number of small companies in China.

Mitsubishi Chemical has been pre-marketing bio-derived PBS using bio-succinic acid supplied by BioAmber.

BioAmber currently produces bio-succinic acid at its 3,000 tonne/year plant in Pomacle, France. The company is planning to build three world-scale commercial facilities for bio-succinic acid and bio-BDO to be located in Canada, Thailand and the third facility either in US or Brazil.

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By: Doris de Guzman
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