Lactic acid from waste paper

Before I venture into the big biofuel news from last week, here’s an interesting announcement from Dutch lactic acid producer Purac.

The company said it is participating in a consortium that will develop a process to produce lactic acid feedstock from cellulosic waste derived from the pulp and paper industry.

Other partners in the program are Crown Van Gelder N.V., a paper producing company, and Bumaga B.V., a development center in the paper and board industry. The project is part of the Dutch Biorefinery program and partially funded by the Dutch Ministries of Economic Affairs and Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality.

Lactic acid is considered one of the key sugar-based building block chemicals that have the potential to be converted into a range of value-added chemicals and materials. Demand for lactic acid has been increasing and Purac is currently constructing a new 75,000 tons/year lactide plant in Thailand.

The plant will produce monomers for bioplastics such as polylactic acid (PLA) and succinic acid. It will start up in the second half of 2011.

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