According to the company several batches of PURALACT lactides have already been produced and actual deliveries to customers are scheduled to start early 2012. For those who are new in the bioplastic business, lactides are precursor for polylactic acid (PLA) resins but it can also be used as a building block for intermediate chemicals.
Purac said the EUR45m plant will produce lactide monomers for biobased resins and plastics, which will be supplied to Purac business partners in the polymer and chemical industry.
"The PLA polymers made from the PURALACT® L and PURALACT® D monomers aim at gaining a significant share of today's plastics market and enables Purac's partners to produce PLA with application temperatures up to 180 °C (266 °F)."In the packaging arena, a product formulation was developed by Purac and its partners based on blends of PLA homo-polymer resins i.e. PURALACT® based PLLA and PDLA. This blend was extruded into a sheet material and subsequently thermoformed on an industrial production line for applications such as hot food trays.
The blog recalls some of its partners such as Indorama Ventures PLC and Arkema although the blog is not sure if BASF is a partner only on Purac's succinic acid project or if BASF also has interests in Purac's PLA -- given that BASF's Ecovio plastic is made from a blend of the company's petroleum-based biodegradable resin Ecoflex PBAT (polybutyrate-adipate-terephthalate) and starch-based PLA.
[Photo from renskoekebakker.com]