Ecomann seeing success with PHA-based mulch film

Rebecca Kanthor
PLASTICS NEWS CORRESPONDENT

Published: June 3, 2014 12:11 pm ET
Updated: June 3, 2014 12:15 pm ET

Image By: Rebecca Kanthor Luke Zhong, managing director of Ecomann Biotechnology Co.

Related to this story

Topics Sustainability, Film & Sheet, Europe, China

SHANGHAI — Biobased plastics manufacturer Ecomann Biotechnology Co. reported that its mulch film has seen huge demand in China and Europe, according to managing director Luke Zhong, who spoke to Plastics News at the China International Biobased Technology and Partnering Conference, where he was also a speaker.

He said the Shenzhen, China-based company, which manufactures 5,000 tons of polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) and 25,000 tons of compounds with other biobased materials a year in Shandong, is finally seeing success with its mulch film after three years on the market.

For the company overall, “last year was pretty good and this year has seen a big increase in sales,” he said. “[The mulch film is] not our biggest product, but in the future it should be our biggest value. The volume for mulch film in China is more than 1 million tons per year.”

The reason behind the film’s success came as a surprise to the company.

“The farmer [was] getting high yield [and] we cannot explain it,” Zhong said.

When the company investigated, they found that PGPR bacteria in the biodegradeable film was helping plants, especially peanuts, grow.

“It is unique,” Zhong said. “It is not only biodegradeable, it can also increase the yield. It’s a big advantage.”

The company now markets it as “smart eco-mulch film.”

“Our PHA film has good barrier properties as other films, but our PHA film’s moisture vapor barrier properties is not as good as [polyethylene], so moisture transfer through PHA film is easier than PE film.  But for the plant this is better because the plant can breathe, especially in the summer [because] it keeps the ground in the field cooler.”

The company also is seeing big demand for engineered plastics. Zhong said Ecomann plans on increasing its PHA capacity to 75,000 tons in the next two years and will build a new facility for PHA on land it has purchased in Shandong to be finished in 2015.

Zhong reiterated his company’s commitment to biobased and biodegradable plastics. “I think there’s no point to use biobased material to make non-biodegradable material. We should use biodegradeable material for this market.

But the big names are only interested in biobased, not biodegradeable, he said.

 He explained the industry leaders position. “For one thing the biodegradeable properties are not as good as the traditional plastics,” he said.  “Traditional PE is too mature, perhaps they don’t want to invest too much in the new biodegradeable materials.”

 But Zhong said that it depends on the product and that many products, especially single-use products that do not need to be made of as strong material. Cars might need non-biodegradable material, but cell phones that are only used for two to three years would be suitable.

“It’s good enough,” he said, referring to the biodegradable material. “You’re not making rockets.”


Comments

Ecomann seeing success with PHA-based mulch film

Rebecca Kanthor
PLASTICS NEWS CORRESPONDENT

Published: June 3, 2014 12:11 pm ET
Updated: June 3, 2014 12:15 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

PE suppliers go after oxo-biodegradable technology in Mexico

July 31, 2014 1:12 pm ET

Mexican industry defends itself, calling claims 'misleading'    More

Bioplastic created using rice starch

July 31, 2014 10:40 am ET

The new transparent, biodegradable material has a high degree of mechanical strength and good thermal resistance.    More

Image

Keep up with China's rapid changes

July 31, 2014 10:33 am ET

In many ways, 1989 was a very special year in history. Plastics News was launched in Akron. Half a world away, China was trying to carry on economic...    More

Image

Plastics News Now: PVC pipe used to help repel sharks from beaches

July 31, 2014 6:00 am ET

Also, we visit Nicolet Plastics which is using a unique employee structure, and Washington D.C. bans polystyrene.    More

Image

DC banning PS foam containers

July 30, 2014 2:34 pm ET

Washington D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray signed into law on July 29 a bill that will ban polystyrene foam food and drink containers from the District.    More

Market Reports

Pipe, Profile & Tubing Extrusion in North America 2014

U.S. demand for extruded plastics is expected to grow by 3 percent in 2014, with PVC remaining the largest segment.

Plastic pipe will post the strongest gains through 2018, continuing to take market share from competing materials in a range of markets.

Our latest market report provides in-depth analysis of current trends and their financial impact on the pipe, profile and tubing extrusion industry in North America.

Learn more

2014 Injection Molding Industry Report

GROWTH, OPPORTUNITY IN SIGHT FOR INJECTION MOLDERS IN 2014

In the wake of the economic turbulence earlier in this decade, molders today find themselves in much better shape. Molders are gaining a competitive advantage by investing in people, equipment and seeking inroads into new markets on a global scale.

Growth in the injection molding industry is going to be driven by low financing costs and a continued move to reshore some business.

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

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

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

More Events