The facility will produce Luminy PLA resins from renewable, non-GMO sugarcane sourced locally in Thailand: from standard PLA to high heat PLA and PDLA (Poly-D-lactic Acid).
Food packaging & coffee cups
The start-up marks a major milestone for the bioplastics market. Thanks to an additional 75,000 tons per year, the global production of PLA bioplastics will increase by almost 50%, to 240,000 tons per year.
PLA is a fast-growing polymer market with an estimated annual growth rate of 10% to 15%.
“For those converters and brand owners who are either already using PLA bioplastics or are looking to do so, the start-up of this new, world-scale plant represents an additional global player for PLA bioplastic resin supply,” said Julia Lovett, marketing communications manager, Total Corbion.
“And for our planet as a whole, this additional capacity can now enable a larger portion of relevant plastic articles being made from bioplastics instead of traditional plastics. This not only alleviates our reliance on fossil fuels, but offers alternative waste solutions (such as industrial composting) for today’s challenging applications like food-tainted packaging, plastic bags and coffee cups.”
The products will meet demand for a range of applications including packaging, consumer goods, 3D printing, fibers and automotive, thermoforming, injection molding and fiber spinning processes.
At the end of their life, PLA products can be mechanically or chemically recycled, or composted and returned to the soil as fertilizer.
“As PLA resins from Total Corbion PLA have been awarded both the 100% biobased certificate and the industrially compostable EN13432 certification, relevant PLA packaging applications can empower consumers to better manage their own household waste (where local facilities exist), for example, by collecting valuable, nutrient-rich organic matter in PLA compostable bin liners,” added Lovett.
Total Corbion PLA will leverage on the integration with its Lactide plant, the monomer required for the production of PLA, that has simultaneously been expanded to 100,000 tons per year production capacity.
The 1,000 tons per year PLA pilot plant, which has been operational since the end of 2017, is located on the same site and will be used for product development.
Stephane Dion, CEO, Total Corbion, said the plant will serve growing markets from Asia Pacific to Europe and the Americas, allowing companies to move into the Circular Economy to produce biobased products with lower carbon footprints and multiple end of life options.
“This is good news for consumers and producers who want to make a conscious choice to improve their carbon footprint and make their contribution to a circular economy,” added Tjerk de Ruiter, CEO, Corbion.