Corbion starts construction of PLA bioplastics plant in Thailand; forms jv with Total


Further to the ground breaking ceremony, which took place recently, to mark the official start of construction of the new 75,000 tonnes/year PLA bioplastics polymerisation plant at the existing Corbion site in Rayong, Thailand, the company says it is joining forces to set up a 50/50 joint venture to produce and market PLA polymers. The two partners will build the polymerisation plant at Corbion’s site that already has a lactide (PLA monomer) production unit that will become part of the joint venture. Corbion will supply the lactic acid necessary for the production of the PLA and the lactide. The new company will be based in the Netherlands and will launch operations in the 1st quarter of 2017, subject to regulatory approvals.

Upon completion in 2018, it will be able to produce the complete Luminy portfolio of PLA neat resins: from standard PLA to high heat resistant PLA, says the Dutch company.

"I'm very pleased with this joint venture, which aims to become a major player in the growing bioplastics market. This investment is consistent with our One Total ambition of expanding in biofuels and bioplastics, in addition to our more traditional oil- and gas-based products," commented Bernard Pinatel, President of Total Refining & Chemicals. "Corbion's unique position in the lactic acid and biopolymers value chain makes it a natural choice for Total. The joint venture will allow us to supply an innovative material that is 100% renewable and biodegradable and that responds to sustainability concerns."


Corbion’s CEO Tjerk de Ruiter highlighted the importance of this milestone: “At Corbion, we believe in building a great future for the people of today and generations to come … that’s what we do here in Thailand with the construction of this plant, biobased and biodegradable plastics will certainly help to minimise adverse impacts on human health and the environment." He added: "We are now entering the next stage of construction, and we are confident that our world-class facility will deliver the innovative solutions that our customers are seeking."

The new 75 kTpa PLA plant will be constructed using Corbion's and Sulzer's proprietory polymerisation technology, and key equipment will be supplied by Sulzer Chemtech Ltd (Switzerland). In addition to the construction of this new PLA polymerisation plant, Corbion will expand its existing lactide plant in Thailand by 25 kTpa. With this expansion, Corbion will be able to serve its current and future lactide customers. The lactide expansion will also enable the production of a wider range of lactides than is currently possible.

The targeted start‐up date for the PLA polymerisation plant and the lactide expansion is in the second half of 2018.


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