Thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions AG has developed its own manufacturing process for the bioplastic polylactid acid (PLA) and is now building the first commercial plant to produce its patented PLAneo technology in Changchun, China.
In a statement on 14 December, the German industrial systems supplier said its customer was COFCO Corp., a supplier of agri-products offering a range of foodstuffs and services.
Once completed, the new plant will produce around 10,000 tonnes of PLA per year.
Commissioning of the plant is scheduled for the first quarter of 2018.
The technology has been developed by Thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions' Swiss subsidiary Uhde Inventa-Fischer, which has constructed more than 400 polymerisation plants so far.
PLA is a 100 percent bio-based and compostable plastic which is suitable for processing into packaging materials, films and engineering plastics and can therefore replace conventional oil-based polymers in many areas.
The raw material for PLA production is lactic acid, produced from renewable resources such as sugar, starch or cellulose. PLA is thus both bio-based and bio-degradable.
“With our technology we want to help establish bioplastics on the market,” said Sami Pelkonen, CEO of the electrolysis & polymers technologies business unit of Thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions.