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Issue 05/2019

  • Text
  • Textiles
  • Fibers
  • Polymers
  • Compostable
  • Barrier
  • Biodegradable
  • Products
  • Plastics
  • Biobased
  • Packaging
  • Materials
  • Bioplastics
Highlights: Fibres/Textiles/Nonwovens Barrier Materials Cover Story: Lightweighting PBAT

Report Inauguration of

Report Inauguration of the world’s second largest PLA plant Total Corbion PLA’s first 75,000 tons per year bioplastics plant officially opened in Rayon/Thailand By: Michael Thielen T otal Corbion PLA, a 50/50 joint venture between Total and Corbion, officially inaugurated its 75,000 tonnes per year PLA (Poly Lactic Acid) bioplastics plant in Rayong, Thailand on Sept. 09, 2019. The world’s second largest PLA plant is located on the same premises, right next to a lactic acid plant of Corbion. It was finished in mid 2018 and commissioned end of 2018. As of yet, the PLA plant has produced more than 20,000 tonnes of PLA. The Grand Opening ceremony was chaired by Ms. Duangjai Asawachintachit, Secretary General of the Thailand Board of Investment (BOI). The event was opened with a traditional religious ceremony in which the plant was blessed by Buddhist monks. Honorable guests included Dr. Somchint Pilouk from the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand, Mr. Jirasak Tapajot, Banchang District Chief, H.E. Jacques Lapouge, the French Ambassador, and H.E. Kees Rade, the Dutch Ambassador (in absentia). bioplastics MAGAZINE participated in the Grand Opening and spoke to different representatives on Total Corbion PLA and Corbion. “This opening is an important milestone for us and the circular economy,“ said Stéphane Dion, CEO of Total Corbion PLA. “The strategic fit between Corbion and Total is no less than perfect. Benefitting from the lactic acid supply of Corbion and benefitting from Total’s expertise in polymer technology and its sales network we are poised to become a major player in the PLA industry. With this plant we demonstrate how passionate we are about contributing to a circular economy.” “The creation of sustainable growth with PLA bioplastics truly fits with our ambition to build new business platforms, applying disruptive technologies. PLA bioplastics will also drive further development and growth of Lactic Acid, which is at the centre of Corbion’s strategy to develop sustainable ingredient solutions to improve the quality of life for people today and for future generations,” said Marc den Hartog, Executive Vice President Innovation platforms of Corbion. “I’m very pleased to inaugurate Total Corbion PLA’s plant today, which has started up rapidly and now serves customers all around the globe” said Valérie Goff, Senior Vice President Polymers at Refining & Chemicals, Total. “PLA bioplastics will help meeting the rising demand for polymers while contributing to reducing end-of-life concerns.” Les 2 Vaches’ yoghurt pot. Les 2 Vache is an organic brand within the Danone family. The product launched in April this year The official ribbon cutting was performed by Ms. Duangjai Asawachintachit, the French Ambassador, Stéphane Dion, as well as the two parent companies of the joint venture, represented by Valérie Goff, together with Marc den Hartog. Thereafter, attendees were given a guided tour of the facility. Total Corbion’s Luminy PLA The new 75,000 tonnes per year facility currently produces ten different grades of Luminy ® PLA. “This is the widest range of PLA grades available on the market today,” said François de Bie, Senior Marketing Director of Total Corbion PLA, “covering all kind of grades from pure PDLA through pure PLLA”. Total Corbion PLA is the only resin manufacturer producing pure PDLA. “This is one of our key products and it allows us also to produce the high heat resistant stereocomplex PLA types,” François added. The new plant started production in December 2018 and has so far produced over 20,000 tonnes of different PLA grades. “The PLA went to a mix of different applications,” François continued. “The biggest part of our production goes for flexible packaging applications. Another significant amount is being compounded with e.g. PBAT and/or starch for different bag applications.” Depending on the required strength of the bags or the desired The plant was first blessed by monks in a religious ceremony Stéphane Dion, CEO Total Corbion PLA 26 bioplastics MAGAZINE [05/19] Vol. 14

Report 100,000 tonne/annum lactide plant composting speed, the amount of PLA in the blends is higher or lower. For more rigid bags for multiple usage the PLA amount is higher, whereas for home-compostability for instance, it is lower. Another big field of applications is catering serviceware, such as thermoformed cups, plates and trays and injection moulded cutlery. Some smaller customers receive PLA for 3D-printing filaments. Spun into fibres, the PLA is also delivered for applications like nonwovens for e.g. teabags or hygiene products such as wet wipes. Blends of PLA and PHA are being used for example for a compostable PLA/PHA-based potato chip packaging developed by Pepsico and Danimer, now supplied to Chile as a test market. PLA/ PHA-based drinking straws from Danimer are another innovation that help reduce the environmental impact of plastics. Being 100 % biobased Total Corbion’s PLA offers an alternative solution to traditional, comparable products made from fossil oil and its derivatives. The significant sustainability benefits over their fossil-based counterparts, like a reduced CO 2 footprint and a reduced dependency on fossil resources contribute to solutions within the framework of today’s climate policy discussions. Geographically the biggest market of Total Corbion PLA is Europe, followed by Asia/Pacific and the Americas. “The demand for PLA is significantly higher than we can meet at the moment,” said François de Bie. One bottleneck at the moment is the capacity of Corbion’s latic acid plant, which is currently being increased. Strategically speaking François added “This is our first PLA plant, but with the market demand we are seeing and two strong parent companies we are certainly looking into further expansions.” Locally sourced sugar The Luminy PLA resins are made from renewable, non-GMO sugarcane sourced locally in Thailand. Of the total raw sugar production of Thailand of annually about 35 million tonnes, Total Corbion needs just 150,000 tonnes. And for Corbion and Total Corbion PLA it is quite important where the sugar comes from. “We seriously look at the quality of the sugar,” Marc den Hartog told bioplastics MAGAZINE. “This, together with how the sugar is grown and harvested including social responsibility, is more important than sourcing the sugar from the shortest distances.“ One of the major local sugar supply partners of Corbion in Thailand is the company Mitr Phol, headquartered in Khlong Toei, Bangkok. In fact, the selection and the subsequent sustainable sourcing of these feedstocks is driven by a number of sustainability aspects. Corbion’s approach to a sustainable supply chain and responsible sourcing is founded on principles of ethical business practices, human and labor rights and environmental protection. For this reason the company has developed its Cane Sugar Code. Corbion’s code is based on the definitions for sustainable sugarcane and derived products as set out by Bonsucro. Bonsucro is a global, non-profit, multi-stakeholder organization founded by WWF in 2005. Part of Bonsucro’s activities is the creation of the “Bonsucro Production Standard”, which covers five key principles: obey the law, respect human rights and labor standards, manage input, production and processing efficiencies to enhance sustainability, actively manage biodiversity and ecosystem services and lastly, continuously improve key areas of the social, environmental and economic sustainability. In 2017, Total Corbion PLA became the first company to offer PLA bioplastic resins made from Bonsucro ceritified sugar to the market. 100,000 tonnes/annum lactide plant In addition to the PLA plant, Total Corbion PLA operates a 100,000 tonnes per year lactide plant, which produces the monomer required for the production of PLA, a 1,000 tonnes per year PLA pilot plant for product development, and a chemical recycling facility, currently used for recycling of production waste. Combined with Corbion’s lactic acid plant, located on the same site, this enables a fully integrated production chain from sugar to PLA. Ribbon Cutting François de Bie bioplastics MAGAZINE [05/19] Vol. 14 27

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