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Material News

Material News High-performance and bio-based— the Vestamid Terra product family Rayon fiber reinforced bio-PA high bio-content and a good reinforcement potential Evonik Industries (Essen, Germany) has developed and launched on the market a novel combination of biobased high-performance polyamides and bio-based high-performance fibers. Reinforcing fibers, particularly chopped fiberglass, are often mixed into a plastic to improve its mechanical properties. But in the case of bio-based polymers this means that the biocontent is lowered 1 , reducing the ecological advantage. The use of natural fibers, on the other hand, has so far resulted in significant deterioration of reinforcing potential, and also an unpleasant odor in the end product. VESTAMID ® Terra with rayon fibers retains the high bio-content — along with excellent reinforcing potential. Two polyamide grades of the Vestamid Terra product family form the polymer matrix: Terra HS (PA 6.10) and Terra DS (PA 10.10). These polyamides are fully or partially obtained from the castor oil plant. Commercially available chopped rayon fibers form the reinforcing fiber substrate. Rayon is also known as man-made cellulose or technically as viscose fibers. These fibers are obtained entirely from wood residues (dissolving pulp), and are therefore also based on renewable raw materials. The overall bio-content is thus high, lying between 67 and 100%. Compared with fiberglass reinforced systems, the combination of viscose fibers and polymer matrix offers a significantly improved carbon balance. As an example, CO 2 savings for a viscose fiber system of PA1010 with a fiber content of 30% are 57% higher than for a 30% glass fiber reinforced PA66. Additionally, viscose reinforcing fibers have a significantly lower density than mineral fibers: Depending on fiber content, bio-polyamides reinforced with viscose fibers offer a weight reduction of up to 10%, for the same reinforcing performance. “With this product development, we want to further support the unrestricted expansion of bio-based products in technically demanding applications for our customers,“ says Dr. Benjamin Brehmer, Business Manager Biopolymers at Evonik. Evonik offers Vestamid Terra grades of varying fiber content, to satisfy a wide range of mechanical demands. 1: Editor’s note: This means that the biomass content of the compound is reduced, because glass fibres do not contain any biomass. Since glass fibres do not contain any carbon, the bio-based carbon content of the compound remains the same. It is an ongoing discussion, which of these values are more important (see bM 03/2010) - MT 32 bioplastics MAGAZINE [05/12] Vol. 7

Material News Growth in PLA bioplastics Production capacity of over 800,000 tonnes per annum expected by 2020 t/a The nova-Institute (Hürth, Germany) recently published the first results of a multi-client market survey covering the international bioplastics market. 25 companies have developed production capacity at 30 sites worldwide of (currently) more than 180,000 tonnes per annum (t/a) of polylactic acid (PLA), which is one of the leading bio-based plastics. The largest producer, NatureWorks, has a capacity of 140,000 t/a. The other producers have a current capacity of between 1,500 and 10,000 t/a. According to their own forecasts, existing PLA producers are planning considerable expansion of their capacity to reach around 800,000 t/a by 2020 (see diagram). There should be at least seven sites with a capacity of over 50,000 t/a by that time. A survey of lactic acid producers – the precursor of PLA – revealed that production capacity to meet concrete requests from customers (who cannot yet be named) could even rise to roughly 950,000 t/a. Michael Carus, managing director of nova-Institute, reacted thus to the survey results: “For the very first time we have robust market data about worldwide PLA production capacity. These are considerably higher than in previous studies, which did not cover all producers. Forecasts of 800,000 or even 950,000 t/a by 2020 show that PLA is definitely a polymer for the future.” The results are derived from the most comprehensive international market survey of bioplastics to date, which was carried out in conjunction with renowned international plastics experts. The ‘Market Study on Bio-based Polymers Evolution of PLA production capacities worldwide 2011-2020 (source: nova-Institute) 900.000 800.000 700.000 600.000 500.000 400.000 300.000 200.000 100.000 and Plastics in the World’ will be published in January 2013 and contains, along with a 300-page report, access to the newly developed ‘Bioplastics Producer Database’. It is the methodology of this market survey that is so special, since it provides a comprehensive study of every producer of over 30 different bioplastics around the world. The data covering the capacity, production, uses and raw materials was collected through over 100 interviews with senior and top-level managers as well as questionnaires and a literature review. Alongside this market data, the report will contain analyses of future trends by renowned experts Jan Ravenstijn (bioplastics consultant, The Netherlands), Wolfgang Baltus (National Innovation Agency NIA, Thailand), Dirk Carrez (Clever Consult, Belgium), Harald Käb (narocon, Germany) and Michael Carus (nova-Institute, Germany). The report and database access will be available for €6,500 net from January. A summer promotion that ended in September was extended for the readers of bioplastics MAGAZINE. Pre-order the study before October 31 st from for €5,500 net and save €1,000 on the original price. Info: Coordinated by nova-Institute, the multi-client survey has already been funded by more than 20 renowned companies and institutions, which have also overseen the project as part of the Advisory Board. Additional partners are more than welcome. For €6,000 they receive not only the report and access to the “Bioplastics Producer Database” but can also sit on the Advisory Board. In-depth information about the survey programme and the partnership agreement, as well as the producer questionnaire, can be found at market_study Bioplastics producers that submit a completed questionnaire will not only be easy to find by potential new business partners via the ‘Bioplastics Producer Database’ but will also receive free online access for a limited period of time. 0 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 bioplastics MAGAZINE [05/12] Vol. 7 33

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