Bioplastics company Total Corbion PLA has officially inaugurated its 75-kilotonne-per-annum (ktpa) polylactic acid (PLA) production plant in Rayong, Thailand.
Billed as “the world’s second largest PLA plant”, the new unit will increase global PLA production by 50 percent to 240 ktpa, according to a Total Corbion statement Sept. 9.
The 50:50 joint venture between the French energy giant Total and Dutch biochemicals company Corbion was set up in the Netherlands in late 2016 for the development of PLA bioplastic.
The new industrial-scale facility will produce a broad range of Luminy PLA resins from renewable, non-GMO sugarcane sourced locally in Thailand. These include standard PLA, high heat PLA and PDLA with “unique properties”.
In operation since the end of 2018, the facility also includes a 100 ktpa lactide plant, which produces the monomer required for the production of PLA, and a 1 ktpa PLA pilot plant, used for product development.
Combined with Corbion’s lactic acid plant, located on the same site, the plant enables a fully integrated production chain from sugar to PLA.
“This is a moment of great pride for me and the teams of Total Corbion PLA” says Stéphane Dion CEO at Total Corbion PLA.
“In addition to its functionality attributes, PLA brings concrete solutions in terms of sustainability, and we are glad that our state-of-the-art plant is up and running to cater for the growing needs of the market.”
PLA is a fast-growing polymer market with an estimated annual growth rate of 10 percent to 15 percent.
At the end of their useful life, PLA products can be mechanically or chemically recycled, or in some cases composted and returned to the soil as fertilizer.