Chinese coal mining company Jinhui launches bioplastic factory

By Steve Toloken
Staff Reporter / Asia Bureau Chief

Published: April 21, 2014 10:18 am ET
Updated: April 21, 2014 10:21 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Materials, Public Policy, Sustainability, China, Materials Suppliers, CHINAPLAS

SHANGHAI - Chinese coal mining company Shanxi Jinhui Energy Group Co. Ltd. is diversifying into bioplastics, launching production this month on a $35 million, 20,000-metric-ton factory for bio-based polybutylene adipate co-terephthalate.

The $2.4 billion company, based in Taiyuan, Shanxi Province, disclosed the investment at an April 21 press conference in Shanghai ahead of the Chinaplas trade show.

It said that the factory, in Xiaoyi, Shanxi, initially will focus on exports. But in spite of PBAT's relatively high cost, the company also sees long-term opportunities within China, for products such as agricultural mulch film, shopping bags and disposable lunch boxes and cups.

The facility will likely produce about 10,000 metric tons of PBAT this year, with 70 percent of that directly exported, mostly to Europe and South Korea, said Janice Li, president of Jinhui Zhaolong High Technology Co. Ltd., the Jinhui subsidiary building the PBAT factory.

The remaining PBAT will be mixed with other materials, such as polylactic acid, starch or a carbon-dioxide polymer that the firm also is commercializing, to provide lower-cost options for biodegradability, company officials said.

Jinhui claims it's the largest-capacity PBAT factory in Asia.

Li said the market is looking for policy support from China's government to help push biodegradable polymers.

“We need strong support from the government,” she said. “Government policies for environmental protection have existed for many years but the results are not very significant.”

Biodegradable polymers face a hurdle because they can cost two to four times that of traditional petrochemical plastics, but the petrochemical plastics can be more expensive to dispose of, a cost that is paid by society, said Li, who also is a vice president of Jinhui Group.

A petrochemical plastics bag, for example, can cost five times as much to get rid of at the end of its life than to manufacture, Li claimed.

In 2008, China banned free plastic bags more than 0.025 mm thick. Li called that a good step toward building support for biodegradable products, and combined with other policy statements from the government, points to strong interest in lower-carbon consumption.

But she said efforts have been hampered by lack of enforcement.

“Due to a lack of punitive measures and no substitute products, the non-degradable plastic bags are still widely used in China despite repeated prohibitions,” she said.

Jinhui said the company's PBAT material can decompose completely into carbon dioxide and water within 180 days in a composting environment, complying with the American ASTM 6400 and European Union EN 13432 standards for biodegradation.

Its PBAT also has approval for food-contact applications from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, she said.

The company is also considering building a PVC manufacturing facility in Xinjiang Province in several years, and is looking at building a facility to make carbon-dioxide-based polymers, using technology from a partner company, Henan Tianguan Co. in Zhengzhou, Henan Province, she said.

Jinhui Group derives about 50 percent of its roughly 15 billion Chinese yuan ($2.4 billion) in annual revenues from coal mining, Li said. It employs about 7,500 people, and also has investments in real estate.


Comments

Chinese coal mining company Jinhui launches bioplastic factory

By Steve Toloken
Staff Reporter / Asia Bureau Chief

Published: April 21, 2014 10:18 am ET
Updated: April 21, 2014 10:21 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

PetStar doubles capacity at Mexico recycling facility

July 24, 2014 2:10 pm ET

Mexican recycling giant PetStar SAPI de CV, owned by the System of Coca-Cola Bottlers in Mexico, has doubled the capacity of its facility to 130...    More

Meredian merging with Danimer Scientific

July 24, 2014 1:59 pm ET

Bioplastics maker Meredian Inc. is merging with its sister firm, Danimer Scientific LLC.    More

Image

US Bioplastics receives funding to bring Gatoresin to the market

July 24, 2014 1:44 pm ET

Materials maker U.S. Bioplastics is hoping its Gatoresin product will take a bite out of the bioplastics market, thanks to funding from a state...    More

Image

Prices trending up for some recycled resins

July 24, 2014 1:27 pm ET

Plastics News is correcting prices for recycled grades of several commodity resins on this week's resin pricing chart.    More

Image

Injection molder, recycler Polyvulc USA puts itself up for sale

July 24, 2014 12:41 pm ET

Fred Farrell and Larry Lambiotte, founders of Polyvulc USA Inc. and its subsidiaries Polyvulc Tire Recycling Llc and Winnsboro Rubber Recycling LLC, a...    More

Market Reports

Injection Molders Market Report & Ranking 2014

This special package contains our 132-page 2014 Market Report on the Injection Molding segment and our exclusive 2014 RANKINGS database of 500+ Injection Molders for a discounted package price.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Market Review & Outlook 2014

This special report from Plastics News examines the North American plastics recycling industry and provides insight into indicators that impact market viability, including Resin pricing trends for virgin and recycled market material and historical Resin production trends for post- consumer and industrial waste.

Learn more

Shale Gas Market - Analysis of North American Region

This report highlights the impact of shale-based natural gas on the North American plastics market and features an in-depth analysis of production trends in the United States during 2013 and a forecast for 2014 and beyond.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events