Plants: Futerro starts up PLA unit in China; Lummus awarded contract by Hengyi for Brunei PP unit

Futerro starts up PLA unit in China

Futerro, a subsidiary of the Belgian Galactic Group, has started operating the first integrated PLA production unit in China in collaboration with its partner BBCA Biochemical. Located in the city of Bengbu (Anhui), the PLA unit has a capacity of 30,000 tonnes/year and is supplied by a lactic acid unit with a capacity of 80,000 tonnes, that also supplies a company belonging to Galactic producing food ingredients based on lactic acid for the Asian market.

The three factories were built in record time of 24 months by a mixed Belgian-Chinese team.

PLA is a bioplastic made of lactic acid, which is itself produced by the fermentation of corn sugar or any other form of carbohydrate from biomass. For Futerro and the Galactic Group, it is the result of 30 years of work dedicated to the development of cutting-edge technology for the production, use and recycling of PLA.

The new lactic acid and PLA units incorporate new patented technologies that allow the production of high- quality products at competitive costs. Futerro and BBCA are already planning to bring the lactic acid production to 180,000 tonnes/year (which will make it one of the largest units in the world) and that of PLA to 100,000 tonnes/year (which will be Asia's leading unit in terms of capacity).

“This first plant is an important step in Futerro’s evolution. Today, we see that the PLA is beginning to find its place in the world of plastics not only due to its natural origin but also to its intrinsic properties,” said Frédéric van Gansberghe, CEO of Futerro.

“We believe that after 30 years of development, the PLA will experience a strong acceleration in the upcoming years. If speaking only about China, the number of new applications that have been prepared in advance by the local industry in anticipation of the opening of our factory is impressive: food packaging in injected form, films, foams, insulation products, agricultural films, textile fibres, 3D filaments, cases for electronics, furniture, construction joineries, carpets, bedding, filtrations, bottles and cans, auto parts,” he added.

Futerro is offering licenses for the production of lactic acid by fermentation monomer, PLA and LOOPLA, which is a new recycling process for converting PLA back into lactic acid. The PLA has a low carbon foot - print which minimises the impact of its production on the global warming.

Lummus awarded contract by Hengyi for Brunei PP unit

In other news, Lummus Technology has announced that its Novolen business has been awarded a contract by China’s Hengyi Industries for a large-scale polypropylene (PP) unit in Brunei.

Lummus’ scope includes the technology licence for 1,000 kilotonnes/year PP unit as well as basic design engineering, training and technical services.

“Lummus’ Novolen business is a leading supplier of polypropylene technology, and it is a business that continues to grow,” said Leon de Bruyn, President/CEO of Lummus Technology. “Our polypropylene technology portfolio offers the industry’s lowest overall capital and operational costs, while providing our customers with the best range in products, process reliability and flexibility in responding to market needs.”

Hengyi’s unit is said to be Lummus’ largest PP licence to date and will be one of the largest PP units in the world.


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