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News NatureWorks to

News NatureWorks to Offer New Products NatureWorks recently announced a major capital investment project at its Blair, Nebraska, USA, manufacturing facility for the production of new grades of highperformance Ingeo biopolymers as well as a new generation of lactide intermediates. Samples of the new polymers and lactide intermediates will be available next year with commercial sales commencing by 2013. For the last 10 years, NatureWorks has supported applications development across this broad range of market segments, resulting in more than 16 commercial grades of Ingeo resin, each with chemistry and physical properties tailored to a specific end use. According to NatureWorks chief operations officer, Bill Suehr, “The new capital investment will significantly broaden our processing capabilities, allowing us to produce with appropriate economies of scale additional Ingeo products well suited to the global injection molding and fiber/nonwovens markets.” New Ingeo grade The new Ingeo grade for injection molding, for example, will contribute to lower molded part cost through faster cycle times and higher production rates. Fiber and nonwoven products made from the new Ingeo grade will have reduced shrinkage and improved dimensional stability. These improved features are expected to enable the use of Ingeo biopolymers across a broader range of fiber and nonwoven applications, providing larger processing windows. NatureWorks also will assess new market and application opportunities for these new Ingeo grades in the thermoforming, film extrusion, injection stretch blow molding, and formed extrusion arenas. New Lactide In addition the company will be the world’s first to offer in commercial quantities a high-purity, polymer-grade lactide rich in the stereoisomer meso-lactide. Identified as Ingeo M700 lactide, the new material can be used as an intermediate for copolymers, amorphous oligomers and polymers, grafted substrates, resin additives/modifiers, adhesives, coatings, elastomers, surfactants, thermosets, and solvents. Until now, several niche-focused producers have attempted to address the functionality requested by the market with what are described chemically as racemic lactides. “Compared to these, the high-purity Ingeo M700 will be lower in cost, easier to process, and an overall better alternative to high-priced racemic lactide, as well as L- and D-lactides, in a host of industrial applications,” said Dr. Manuel Natal, global segment leader for lactide derivatives at NatureWorks. As compared to racemic lactide’s melting point of nearly 130°C, and L- and D- lactide’s 97°C, Ingeo M700’s melting point is below 60°C. This makes for a more effective chemical intermediate on a number of different levels. For example, Ingeo M700 offers a more efficient way to deliver ester functionality and, because it is effectively an anhydrous form of lactic acid, processors will not have to deal with water when using Ingeo M700. Meso-lactide is up to two times more susceptible to ring-opening reactions than L-, D-, or racemic lactides, which can mean less catalyst usage, lower reaction temperatures, or both. It can be processed below 70°C, which under most circumstances eliminates the need to handle expensive solid particles and allows easier processing. By early 2013, the company will offer thousands of tons of Ingeo M700 lactide. Prior to this availability, meso-lactide samples will be available in 2012 to advance market development. MT 8 bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/11] Vol. 6

News Letter to the Editor Re: Blue Cat (issue 03/2011) I have just been reading the latest issue of your magazine. I am concerned about the article on Blue Cat cat litter in which it is said that the bio-waste from litter can be composted. I don’t know what would happen in an industrial compost system, but in a home compost system, the temperature would not be high enough to kill off Toxocara canis which can cause blindness in children. Home composting is quite popular in many countries such as the UK and Belgium, and I understand it is becoming more popular in Germany. For this reason, we would never recommend composting cat litter, not even that made from wood shavings. Iain Ferguson, Environment Manager The Co-operative Group, Manchester, UK Francesco Degli Innocenti, Harald Käb, Mark Vergauwen, Andy Sweetman, Jens Hamprecht, Jöran Reske, Rainer Barthel (left to right) European Bioplastics Elected New Board On 16 June, the industry association European Bioplastics elected a new Board which represent the association and its members for the coming two years. Andy Sweetman (Innovia Films) was confirmed as Chairman. Jens Hamprecht (BASF) and Mark Vergauwen (NatureWorks) are ViceChairmen. At the beginning of his second term as Chairman of European Bioplastics Andy Sweetman says: “The awareness of bioplastics has risen immensely within the last year as bioplastics reach more and more consumer products. The Board will therefore continue to dedicate its expertise to encourage political support and to strengthen communication about bioplastics”. Further members of the Board are: Rainer Barthel (Danone), Francesco Degli Innocenti (Novamont), Joeran Reske (Interseroh), and Harald Käb (narocon), who was designated treasurer. The cover photo of this issue does not exactly reflect one of our highlight topics. But it reflects the topic of our next conference. In May 2012 bioplastics MAGAZINE will present the 2 nd PLA World Congress (see 1 st announcement and call for papers on page 11). And our cover girl Erica obviously likes PLA. The 2011 mascot of the Japanese company UNITIKA uses cups made from TERRAMAC, a heat resistant PLA resin by Unitika. Their technology makes PLA heat-resistant suitable for making injection moulded products. Unitika’s moulding partners are providing various products, such as cups, dishes, bowls, plates, chopsticks, and so on, in various colours, made from heat-resistant Terramac PLA resin. And Erica’s knitted shirt is made of Terramac fibres. bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/11] Vol. 6 9

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