Expansions: SI on additives expansion drive in US; NatureWorks’ new 75-kilotonne/year facility for PLA in Thailand

SI on additives expansion drive in US

Additives maker SI Group plans to invest more than US$50 million across three manufacturing sites in North America to install globally competitive main antioxidant capacity to increase its supply for this critically important and growing market segment.

SI Group adds that this investment is commitment to the expanding US chemical market, with a focus on supplying strategically located, critical raw materials to key partners in the region. With SI Group’s current extensive antioxidant manufacturing footprint in the US and backward integration, this planned expansion will increase its security of supply by offering a fully integrated portfolio of phenolic antioxidants in the U.S. These performance additives are broadly used in growth segments such as food packaging, automotive, construction, adhesives, and other applications.

“This capacity expansion plan is a direct result of our focused efforts on growth and responding to our customers’ needs. The investment will increase domestic capacity and security of supply for our customers and strengthen SI Group’s position as a partner of choice,” said Chuck Reardon, SI Group’s VP – Plastics Solutions. “We are pleased to be in a position to invest in SI Group’s capacity and support the success of our customers as well as bring new manufacturing and product capabilities and manufacturing jobs to our local communities.”

The new capacity is expected to come online in the second half of 2022. These projects are expected to create short-term construction jobs, followed by permanent manufacturing jobs once construction is complete. With projected growth in the polyolefins market in the U.S., the expansions will enable SI Group to increase its domestic supply to match growing demand, and further strengthen its position as a key partner to its customers.

NatureWorks’ new 75-kilotonne/year facility for PLA in Thailand

Meanwhile, in other news, US PLA manufacturer NatureWorks says it has recorded key milestones for a new fully integrated Ingeo PLA production facility that is anticipated to open in Thailand by 2024, subject to shareholder approval. When fully operational the new plant will have a capacity of 75,000 tonnes/year of Ingeo biopolymer and will produce the full portfolio of Ingeo grades.

Recently, the Thailand Board of Investment announced its approval of the NatureWorks manufacturing project that will be located at the Nakhon Sawan Biocomplex (NBC) in Nakhon Sawan province. The NBC is the first biocomplex project in Thailand established in accordance with the government's bioeconomy policy.

NatureWorks recently completed the front-end engineering design work with Jacobs that was selected and managed in partnership with IAG, who provided front-end project management and project controls. Final detailed engineering is currently underway, and NatureWorks expects to announce further details on the new facility later this year.

“We are pleased to share these significant accomplishments as part of our next phase for global manufacturing expansion,” said Rich Altice, President/CEO of NatureWorks. “The approval and support from the Thailand Board of Investment was a critical milestone on our path toward opening our new facility in Thailand. With both the recently announced expansion at our facility in Blair, Nebraska, and this new manufacturing complex, we can further address the global market demand for sustainable materials and continue leading the development of high-performance applications that capitalize on Ingeo’s unique material properties.”

The new manufacturing complex will include production for lactic acid, lactide, and polymer making it the world’s first polylactide facility designed to be fully integrated. NatureWorks will build and operate all three facilities, having both process and energy integration to increase efficiency of the manufacturing operation dedicated to Ingeo biopolymer production.

In 2002, NatureWorks became the first company to produce PLA biopolymers at commercial scale. In 2013, NatureWorks expanded its flagship Blair, NE facility to an a capacity of 105,000 tonnes/year, making it the largest PLA manufacturing plant in the world. NatureWorks also completed a portfolio of enhancements to the Blair site enabling the plant to establish a new record production level in 2019.


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