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05 | 2008

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News Plantic to

News Plantic to Establish European Manufacturing Operation Australian Plantic Technologies Limited, manufacturer of biodegradable polymers made from starch for packaging and other applications, has announced that it will build a manufacturing plant in Jena, the second largest city in the state of Thuringia, Germany. Plantic will receive a grant from the German Government, which is expected to contribute up to 45% towards capital investment in developing the European plant. This funding contribution will assist Plantic in establishing its operations in a growing bioplastics market and is an indication of Germany’s overarching commitment to the environment. Plantic Technologies already exports rigid sheet product from Australia to European thermoforming contractors and, finally, to packaging manufacturers for supply to brand owners in the UK and Continental Europe. Based on Plantic’s success to date, the company now plans to establish a manufacturing presence in Europe with the aim to deliver greater value to customers. In phase one of a two phase strategy, Plantic will establish, by the first quarter of 2009, a thermoforming operation in a newly leased factory in Jena. This operation will allow for rapid prototyping, more efficient customer trials, and increased production capacity. This will accelerate Plantic’s entry into the European thermoforming market and, most importantly, further improve Plantic’s competitiveness and response to customers and brand owners. The total investment in this first phase, before subsidies, is €1.2 million. Once sufficient thermoforming volume is established, based on imported sheet, it is planned that a second phase of the strategy will be implemented by installing rigid sheet production. This strategy will eliminate sea freight, thereby streamlining the supply chain and, ultimately, lowering Plantic’s production costs. Extruded Plantic ® materials will not only be utilized by Plantic’s thermoforming business, but also by third party thermoformers and processors. Mr. Brendan Morris, Chief Executive Officer, Plantic Technologies Limited, commented, “Plantic’s decision to establish a manufacturing operation in Europe is a very important and exciting development, not only for the Plantic team, but for all Plantic stakeholders. www.plantic.com.au 0,9 0,6 0,3 Mio. t/a Packaging Packaging & Textile Advanced Technology Scenario Application of High Performance PLA (PLA Stereokomplex) 2006 2010 2015 Market and Application Development (Worldwide) PLA Production to be Established in Germany Base Scenario Packaging, Textile & Eng. Plastics During the 1st PLA World Congress (9-10 Sept. in Munich, Germany) Bernd Merzenich, CEO of Pyramid Bioplastics from Guben, Germany estimated a market potential of biopolymers in packaging applications: If 5 percent of all plastic packaging materials would be substituted by biopolymers until 2015, for Europe alone this would mean almost 1,000,000 tons per year. At least 30 percent of these biopolymer packaging applications – according to Bernd Merzenich – can be made of PLA, which amounts to approx. 300,000 tons per year. And there is substantially more potential for PLA applications in consumer electronics, in the automotive sector or in textiles and nonwovens. Within this dynamic perspective Pyramid Bioplastics, a partnership of Pyramid Technologies of Switzerland and German Bioplastics of Germany, is establishing a production facility for the biopolymer PLA in Guben, a city on the German-Polish border in eastern Brandenburg. Based on the technology of Uhde Inventa-Fischer, an initial capacity of 60.000 tons per year will be realised. According to Bernd Merzenich, Pyramid Bioplastics will produce PLA from non-GMO feedstocks. A first production unit, for which the plant engineering is in progress, will commence operations in the second half of 2009. Pyramid Bioplastics will polymerise its PLA from lactic acid made from sugar beets and sugar cane. These feedstocks achieve a much higher yield per hectare than e.g. corn or wheat. In cooperation with the Fraunhofer Institute of Applied Polymer Research, Pyramid Bioplastics will also undertake significant activities in biopolymer research & development. www.pyraplast.com bioplastics MAGAZINE [05/08] Vol. 3

News PLA-Biofoam Production to be Established in The Netherlands Dutch company Purac (subsidiary of CSM) and Swiss Sulzer Chemtech have jointly developed a new cost effective polymerization process to produce high quality PLA. The new process relies upon proprietary and jointly developed polymerization and devolatilization technology to efficiently produce a range of PLA products from the specialty lactides supplied by Purac. Purac and Sulzer Chemtec signed a joint cooperation agreement for the development and sharing of this technology. Poly-Lactide (PLA) is a bioplastic made from biorenewable raw materials like carbo-hydrates. Purac offers the lactide monomers as polymerization feedstock and in cooperation with Sulzer the polymerization technology to make PLA. This offering will significantly reduce the process and product development time thereby enabling faster and more reliable market entry for PLA producers. The new process requires substantially less investment and has unmatched potential for economic scale-up to high volumes. The first plant to use this new technology will be built by Synbra in the Netherlands for the production of BIOFOAM ® , a foamed product made from this PLA, complementary to their wide range of polystyrene foam products offered today. The new plant with a capacity of 5,000 tons/year is targeted to be operational by the end of 2009. Synbra intends to assume a leading position in Europe as supplier of biologically degradable polymers from renewable sources and plans to expand the PLA capacity to 50,000 ton/year. By the end of 2008, a demonstration and product development plant will be available exclusively to partners of Purac, to facilitate both product and process development to meet various application and customer demands. The demonstration plant will be located at Sulzer Chemtec in Winterthur, Switzerland. www.purac.com www.sulzerchemtech.com www.biofoam.nl www.synbra.com Metabolic Explorer Bio-PDO Program Achievements and Schedules METabolic EXplorer has developed three costcompetitive bulk chemical production programs for which the company has already created tailored cell factories. METabolic EXplorer, in 2007, started small with bio-production at lab scale and has more recently moved into the pre-industrial pilot phase for business partnerships. • 1,3 Propanediol (PDO), Butanol and 1,2 Propanediol (MPG) METabolic EXplorer’s bioprocesses applied to renewable feedstock enables the company to achieve a cost reduction of over 30% when compared to the existing chemical process. • 1,3 Propanediol (bio-PDO) produced with a purity superior to 99.5% is a cost competitive alternative to other sources of PDO. This non-petroleum specialty glycol can also serve the coatings and resins industry. • Butanol where METabolic EXplorer is more focused on the chemical intermediate in plastic or acrylic industries markets. The METEX bio-PDO program is on schedule: After announcing that they have been granted that a licensed patent in the U.S.A. (Patent No US 7,267,972) in January 2008, METabolic EXplorer obtained the first samples of one of its proprietary products, PDO (1,3-propanediol) in May of this year. These samples, with a purity above 99,5%, have been produced by fermentation of crude, industrial glycerol (83%purity grade), followed by a proprietary, patent-protected purification step. By the end of 2008, the company will have produced quantitative samples of PDO for testing and qualification purposes. And in the second semester of 2009, a significant piloting plant (which will be large enough to prove the industrial and business feasibility of Metex PDO technology) will be running for bio-PDO, using proprietary fermentation and purification processes from industrial crude glycerine. www.omnexus.com/bioplastics bioplastics MAGAZINE [05/08] Vol. 3

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