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bioplasticsMAGAZINE_1201

Report 75,000 tonnes/a

Report 75,000 tonnes/a Lactide plant (plant overview) Successful start New 75,000 tonnes lactic acid plant started operation By Lex Borghans Manager Corporate Marketing Purac, Gorinchem, the Netherlands Shirts with tie – supporting high heat fibers Purac, Gorinchem, the Netherlands, has successfully completed the construction of its new 75,000 tonnes/ year Lactide plant in Thailand. The construction of this EUR 45 million state-of-the-art plant started in March 2010 and has recently been finalized. At the moment the plant is being commissioned and the first test runs have already been finalized. Several batches of high quality PURALACT ® Lactides have been produced and actual deliveries of Puralact to customers are scheduled to start early 2012. This investment is driven by the commitment of Purac and its parent company CSM to play a leading role in the development of the market for lactic acid based bioplastics (Poly Lactic Acid or PLA). PLA contributes, with commercially viable and readily available products, to a significantly lower carbon footprint compared to traditional fossil-based plastics. The PLA market is highly attractive as many Brand Owners are increasingly developing and launching sustainable products. The new plant will produce Lactide monomers for biobased resins and plastics, which will be supplied to Purac business partners in the polymer and chemical industry. The PLA polymers made from the Puralact L and Puralact D monomers aim at gaining a significant share of today’s plastics market and enables Purac’s partners to produce PLA with application temperatures up to 180 °C (266 °F). François de Bie, Marketing Director Bioplastics comments: “This new Lactide plant will take us to the next step in developing the PLA market, together with our partners. In addition, we have made good progress in our application development program for bioplastics. Based on our proprietary technology we have demonstrated the benefits of Purac’s PLA building blocks in demanding applications in the packaging, foam, fiber and consumer products industries.” 52 bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/12] Vol. 7

Report Food containers – supporting high heat food tray in Thailand PLA homopolymer resin produced from Purac’s stereo chemically pure L-Lactide has recently been tested and validated in a range of high end applications. In the segment of fiber spinning, a technical performance comparison was made between a regular, commercial PLA fiber grade and a comparable Puralact L based PLLA homo-polymer. With the PLLA homo-polymer, fully-drawn yarn with excellent mechanical and thermal properties was successfully made, due to the significantly higher melting point of PLLA homo-polymer. The fast crystallization and high levels of crystallinity of the PLLA provide important benefits to physical properties of fibers and fabrics. 75,000 tonnes/a Lactide plant (detailed visual) In close co-operation with partners in the packaging arena, a product formulation was developed based on blends of PLA homo-polymer resins i.e. Puralact based PLLA and PDLA. This blend was extruded into a sheet material and subsequently thermoformed on an industrial production line for applications such as hot food trays. This demonstrates that when using Puralact based PLA resin, it is possible to meet the high heat requirements typical for these type of applications. “The successful start up of our 75,000 ton Lactide plant marks another milestone in Purac’s commitment to the development of the PLA market” says Jeroen Jonker, Vice President Bioplastics at Purac, “We are now able to supply monomers that can be transformed into high performance PLA, whilst providing the scale and security of supply as required by the end use markets. I am particularly excited that we are increasingly able to attract customers in the high end markets, a clear confirmation of our high performance PLA strategy” www.purac.com Purac will present more details on their PLA activities at the 2 nd PLA World C o n g r e s s 15 + 16 MAY 2012 * Munich * Germany Contact f.de.bie@purac.com at Purac, to get a 15% discount on the conference fee. organized by bM bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/12] Vol. 7 53

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