Increasing bioplastic capacity

Miss me? Sorry for the long hiatus on posting, too many things going on including exams and finishing my presentation for the BIOPLASTEK conference, not to mention magazine deadlines.


My bio-PX/PTA story just came out this week in ICIS Chemical Business’ Green Chemicals issue, which seems to be mostly focusing on bioplastics. Here are some of the bioplastic stories on this week’s issue including a nice map of some of the recent bioplastic developments across the globe:

Now onto the news.

As I was doing research for my presentation, I did not realize that I missed several bioplastic expansion announcements this year (check lists below). The blog already reported about Purac starting its 75,000 tonne/year lactide plant in Thailand in January, and Roquette started its 25,000 tonne/year starch-based polyolefins at its Lestrem site in France last month.

Synbra starts PLA plant

Synbra Technology in the Netherlands started its 5,000 tonnes/year PLA (polylactic acid) resin plant in Etten Leur using Sulzer Chemtech‘s polymerization process jointly developed with Purac. Synbra said it plans to further expand the capacity. Sulzer is also planning to invest in a 1,000 tonnes/year PLA plant in Switzerland for customer testing, which will be operational at the beginning of this year (it could probably be operational by now…).

bio-on picks Techint for PHA partnership

bio-on is collaborating with Techint Engineering & Construction to build PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoate) ready-to-use facilities with 10,000 tonne/year capacity using waste materials from sugar beet and cane production. Customers can now buy the bio-on PHA production license, which can be built by Techint E&C.

Zhejiang Hisun to expand PLA capacity

China-based consulting firm reported that Zhejiang Hisun Biomaterials Co. Ltd. will expand its PLA capacity from the current 5,000 tonnes/year to 50,000 tonnes/year in 2013. The company is said to be considering cassava as its new feedstock instead of its current raw material corn. CCM said the price of cassava as of November 2011 was $78/ton compared to $354/ton for corn. Average price for PLA in China as of January was $3,450/ton.

We also must not forget that the bioplastic industry lost a 50,000 tonne/year PHA capacity when ADM severed its ties with Metabolix. The company is now mulling a 10,000 tonne/year PHA production facility either by toll manufacturing, via a new JV or its own greenfield/brownfield investment.

I actually made a list of some of the new bioplastic project announcements which I will include in my bioplastic presentation on March 30 at the BIOPLASTEK event.

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