Bioplastics companies Danimer Scientific Inc. and Total Corbion PLA announced Nov. 9 they had entered a long-term strategic supply agreement.
The agreement will see Total Corbion will supply its Luminy polylactic acid resin to Danimer.
Danimer manufactures a range of bioplastic formulations and resins, among which its Nodax polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA), a bio-based, biodegradable polyester produced through microbial fermentation offering highly tuneable physical and mechanical properties. The company also creates combinations of PHA and PLA through a proprietary reactive-extrusion process. These blends can be customized to meet a broad range of technical characteristics for specific applications, allowing the use of its materials to be further expanded across a number of different industries.
The agreement with Total Corbion will secure the company's PLA supply, enabling it to meet customer needs for resins that require a blend of PLA- and PHA-based inputs.
"While growing commercial production of PHA remains the focus of our business, PLA is a part of some compounds that we formulate to meet specific customers' functionality needs for different applications," Stephen Croskrey, chairman and CEO of Danimer, said in a news release. "Teaming with Total Corbion PLA provides an ideal solution to support our long-term growth strategy while ensuring our short-term customer needs remain fulfilled."
Blending PHA with PLA, which is also a biopolyester, not only enhances the price competitiveness of the former, it can boost the biodegradability of the latter and improve the performance properties of both materials, opening up the potential for new and better products.
"The biopolymers market is experiencing strong growth, and customers are requesting innovative solutions tailor-made to their market needs," said Total Corbion CEO Thomas Philipon. "In today's dynamic market, strategic arrangements throughout the value chain are key to ensuring security of supply in both product and technology that will allow brand owners and ultimately consumers to be comfortable with selecting bioplastics as a sustainable alternative to traditional plastics."
Total Corbion PLA is a 50/50 joint venture between TotalEnergies and Corbion focused on the manufacturing and marketing of Luminy PLA resins. Total Corbion PLA is headquartered in the Netherlands, operates a 75,000 metric tons per year PLA production facility in Rayong, Thailand and recently announced plans to build a second plant in Grandpuits, France.
Danimer Scientific has manufacturing facilities at facilities in Georgia and Kentucky. In the first quarter of 2021, Danimer's PHA capacity utilization topped 50 percent. Danimer expects to be at 100 percent of nameplate capacity by the end of the year.
Phase II construction commenced in December 2020 and is expected to come online in the second quarter of 2022 to begin ramping up to an additional 45 million pounds of finished product nameplate capacity.
The completion of both phases is expected to bring total nameplate PHA capacity up to 65 million pounds per year. In Georgia, where operations are currently focused on the production of PLA-based resins, its total production capacity is 100 million pounds, depending on the mix and type of product.