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News Sulzer to build

News Sulzer to build high PLA production plant in Asia Sulzer (Winterthur, Switzerland) has been awarded a contract for the delivery of a production plant based on Sulzer’s proprietary polylactic acid (PLA) technology. The facility with a capacity of more than 10,000 tonnes per year will produce high performance PLA for a broad range of applications. Commercial production is planned to start in the second half of 2014. Both parties have agreed to leverage Sulzer’s technology and pilot facilities to support the customer in the development of innovative solutions for the Asian polymer market. Sulzer’s proprietary technology allows the continuous production of high-performance PLA grades with very low residual monomer levels and a wide possible viscosity range. The new PLA produced with Sulzer technology exhibits an excellent crystallinity and withstands temperatures up to 180°C (HDT-B for stereocomplex PLA). Applications in the automotive, electronics and the textile industry based on this new type of material are currently under development and will see their market appearance in the near future. In order to further facilitate the PLA market development and to emphasize its commitment to the biopolymer industry, Sulzer has recently startedup its own PLA pilot plant for 1,000 tonnes per year in Switzerland. MT Renewable farnesene Amyris, Inc. (Emeryville, California, USA), a leading renewable chemicals and fuels company, recently announced the first commercial shipment from its new plant in Brazil. Amyris’s first purpose-built industrial fermentation facility produces Biofene ® , Amyris’s brand of renewable farnesene, a chemical building block to be used in a range of specialty chemical, fuel and polymer applications. With its unique chemical structure, Biofene is ideally suited for various polymer applications. Amyris is currently collaborating with two of its partners to incorporate Biofene in breakthrough applications. Amyris is working with Japan’s Kuraray to use Biofene to replace petroleum-derived feedstock in the production of specified classes of high-performing polymers for the tire industry. Initial testing indicates that Biofene provides differentiated performance for rubber tires by reducing rolling resistance, which improves fuel economy, without reduction in tire wear. Amyris has partnered with Italy’s Gruppo M&G to incorporate Biofene as an ingredient in PET (polyethylene terephthalate) resins for packaging applications. While lightweight, shatterproof and recyclable, plastic bottles are not very good at keeping air from reaching its contents, particularly food products. When processed, Biofene helps form an oxygen barrier for plastic bottles and jars. Amyris’s Biofene plant in Brotas, in the state of São Paulo, Brazil, sources its sugarcane feedstock locally from the Paraíso mill. Prior to the start-up of this facility, Amyris relied solely on contract manufacturing for commercial production. Significantly enhanced heat and impact resistance Teijin Limited Tokyo, Japan, recently announced that it has developed technology to significantly enhance the heat and impact resistance of PLANEXT, the company’s highperformance bio-polycarbonate. The technology modifies the molecular design of Planext to achieve greatly improved heat resistance with a glasstransition temperature of 120°C, as well as superior resistance to impact. In addition, a separate proprietary flame-retardant technology enables Planext to achieve toplevel flame retardancy of UL94V-0 at 1.6mm. Teijin will develop markets for Planext as a strategic bio- and next-generation transparent material with new applications in the electronics, architecture and exterior fields, starting with the Japanese market. Annual production capacity at the company’s Matsuyama Factory in Ehime Prefecture, Japan is expected to expand to 3,000 tons within a few years. Planext is an eco-friendly bio-polycarbonate made with bio-content based on isosorbide from corn-starch and other plants. In addition to excellent moldability and durability, it is superior to oil-derived polycarbonates in terms of surface hardness (pencil hardness rank: H), weather and chemical resistance, and light transmission of 92%. With its newly enhanced heat and impact resistance, Planext is now a material suited for a much wider range of applications than ever before. MT 6 bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/13] Vol. 8

News Purac and Rotec cooperate in Russia In early April CJSC Rotec (Moscow, Russia, a subsidiary of the Renova Group of companies) and Purac (Gorinchem, The Netherlands), a subsidiary of CSM), signed an agreement on the development of a project to create a unique in the world high-tech biopolymer production facility in Russia. The agreement envisages analysis of opportunities to set in Russia a 100,000 tonnes/annum facility that will produce PLA polymers for subsequent production of biodegradable plastics. A facility of this scale operating on the basis of Purac’ technology of industrial PLA and lactides production from renewable resources from locally available biomass, and their polymerization knowhow, will be the first production chain of its kind in Europe. In the study, Rotec will focus on a location analysis related to the availability of optimal agricultural land and feedstocks and potential production locations, as well as research of the Russian market. Purac, leading player in natural food preservation and biobased building blocks & chemicals, will focus on the analysis of the optimal available feedstock-to-PLA technologies and defining the business case. In the event of positive project feasibility testing, the new facility will allow for industrial production of a revolutionary generation of polymers that will be unique for Russia and globally. According to Renova’s estimate, project investments will exceed rubles (RUB) 16bn (€ 400mio). As Renova Group’s High-Tech Asset Development Director Mikhail Lifschitz says, ”the prospect of creating a production facility of this kind will not only contribute to improvement of overall environmental situation in our country and the development of agricultural sector as the core supplier of raw materials for production of biopolymers, but will also improve the image of Russian economy as the user of environmentally friendly newest-generation materials”. Million-invest in bioplastic production The Russian company PoliKompleks plans to build a complex for rectification of lactic acid and for the production of bioplastics in the Kaliningrad region. The administration of the Kaliningrad region informed in a press release that an agreement was signed at the recent Hanover Fair (Hanover, Germany). According to that press release, the plants will produce about 50,000 tonnes/annum of bioplastics as well as about 12,000 tonnes/annum of biodegradable thawing agents on the basis of lactic acid or of polylactides (PLA) with a targeted turnover of 1.4 billion rubles (RUB) (€ 35 million) per year. The completion of the complex is scheduled for 2016, work to be started this year. The investment volume amounts to approximately RUB 1.2 bn (€ 30 million). A precise location of the facilities was not disclosed in the press release. The project will be the basis of a biochemical cluster. Together with similar industrial projects, e.g. for the automotive and shipbuilding industries, it will become a focus for future economic growth in the region. The whole project is part of a development plan of the bio-economy in Russia, known as Bio-2030. The strategic goal is to increase the bio-economy to 1% of the GDP by 2020 and 3% by 2030. For the Russian government bio-economy is an important part of the modernization of the economy, creating social benefits and new jobs, and working against depopulation in the rural areas. The company PoliKompleks has been active in the field of industrial biotechnology in several Russian regions as well as in Kazakhstan and Venezuela since 2009. According to the information from the Kaliningrad administration PoliKompleks cooperates (among others) with the Dresden, Germany based company Sarad. MT Source: Renova is also the major shareholder of the Swiss corporations Sulzer and Oerlikon. MT bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/13] Vol. 8 7

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