I’m being bombarded by bioplastic news this week! Here’s one from NatureWorks, which announced last Monday its plans to enter the lactic acid intermediates market.
The company says it now offers for sale a range of polymer-grade lactides to support the rapidly growing global demand for these products in bio-based plastics and fibers. These products are used to produce the company’s Ingeo polylactic acid (PLA)-based resins.
NatureWorks plans to make 10,000-20,000 tons/year of its lactide product portfolio available. Lactide partners can also avail of the company’s Ingeo license package where NatureWorks will supply access to trademarks and application patents to develop wider adoption of Ingeo biopolymers.
Aside from NatureWorks, current players and developers in the PLA-based resins field include NatureWorks’ former co-owner Teijin Chemicals of Japan; the Netherlands-based Synbra; Belgium-based Futerro; Pyramid Bioplastics and FKuR both based in Germany; UK-based Plaxica; and China-based Zhejiang Hisun Biomaterials.
Last year Futerro started its PLA-based bioplastic demo plant in Escanaffles, Beligum, with a capacity of 1,500 tonnes/year. The company expects to offer products such as lactide, oligomers and PLA polymers for the packaging market when it goes commercial. Futerro is a 50/50 joint venture between European lactic acid producer Galactic and France-based Total Petrochemicals.
FKuR, meanwhile, began operating its new North American subsidiary FKuR Plastics Corp. based in Texas early this year. Customers will be able to receive their bio-resins directly from a local US warehouse and FKuR said manufacturing of the compounds will begin once sales volume reached a stable level.