Belgium's Galactic to develop lactic acid from algae in EU project

25 May 2012 09:36  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Belgium-based lactates maker Galactic said on Friday it will participate in a €5m ($6.3m) EU-led project that plans to produce lactic acid from algae that will eventually lead to making bioplastics.

The project, dubbed ECLIPSE, aims to use microalgae waste as a raw material for producing lactic acid by fermentation, which in turn will be used to produce polylactic acid (PLA), the company said in a statement.

Raw materials currently used in the production of lactic acid require the use of “food crops”, according to Galactic.

“We are very confident about this new type of fermentation. Current results show that the production cost of lactic acid would be much lower than it is right now,” said Benoit Moreau, a research manager at Galactic.

Lactic acid produced through this form of fermentation would be polymerised by Futerro, a 50:50 joint venture between Galactic and Belgium-based Total Petrochemicals, Galactic added.

“Plastic products produced using this bioplastic would be expected to have an exceptionally low carbon footprint,” the company said.

“However, the level of greenhouse gas emissions attributed to the products themselves (PLA, algal biodiesel) will have a strong bearing on how the environmental performance of the algal-based PLA product is perceived,” it added.

The ECLIPSE project involves 13 industrial players and research centres including universities from Spain, Belgium, Sweden, Germany, Colombia and Chile, according to Galactic.

($1 = €0.80)

By: Nurluqman Suratman

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