Dutch ingredient company Purac and its partner, Thailand-based polyester supplier Indorama Ventures PLC (IVL) are now in discussions for the construction of their new polylactic acid (PLA) plant in Rayong, Thailand, which will have initial capacity of 10,000 ton/year and capable of expanding into 100,000 tons/year.
IVL will market the PLA as a green polymer alternative for packaging materials, fibers and non-woven textiles through its existing global marketing and sales network. Lactide monomers feedstock for the PLA production will be sourced from Purac's lactides production plant in Rayong, Thailand, as well as from other Purac sites.
ICIS news reported late last year of Purac's intention to start up the PLA plant around fourth quarter of 2011. Also late last year, Purac announced their development of a PLA compound with heat stability and impact strength comparable to the common thermoplastic acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS).
Purac noted that the global lactic acid market is currently estimated at 250,000 tons excluding the volume used to produce PLA.
According to Edward Ludwig, Purac's business development manager, the company is aiming to create superior heat resistant PLA based on L and D lactides for its second generation PLA product. The third generation PLA will be based on a gypsum-free lactic acid process that are carbon neutral, while the 4th generation PLA will use biomass as substrate.
[Photo source from NViroplast.com]