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Issue 05/2020

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Highlights: Fibres & Textiles Polyurethanes / Elastomers Basics: Resorbable Biopolymers

News Total Corbion PLA

News Total Corbion PLA announces the first world-scale PLA plant in Europe T otal Corbion PLA, the 50/50 joint venture between Total and Corbion, is planning to build its second PLA plant with a targeted final capacity of 100,000 tonnes per annum. With this expansion Total Corbion PLA would advance to be the global market leader in PLA. So, the company would be firmly positioned to cater for the rapidly growing demand for their PLA resins, marketed under the brand Luminy ® . The new plant is planned to be located in Europe, on an existing site of Total in Grandpuits, France. Corbion and Total, the two shareholders of the joint venture, are fully supporting the ambitious growth plans. The total investment in this project is expected to be approximately 200 million Euro and Corbion will continue to be the supplier of lactic acid. The project remains subject to the information and consultation process of the relevant employee representative bodies in accordance with applicable laws. Meanwhile the pre-engineering work has already started. Construction is scheduled to start in 2022. Start of production is planned for 2024. In the beginning the plant will produce about a third of its installed total capacity. This will then be ramped up over a certain period of time to the final capacity on 100,000 tonnes per annum. “Announcing our second plant project, less than two years after we started up commercial scale production at our first plant in Thailand, demonstrates our commitment to develop PLA bioplastics and our ambition to become the world leader in PLA. We are proud to be the first company launching a commercial scale Lactic Acid to PLA plant in Europe” comments Stéphane Dion, CEO of Total Corbion PLA. Being asked why Total Corbion didn’t chose Thailand again for its second location, Francois de Bie, Senior Marketing Director of Total Corbion PLA told bioplastics MAGAZINE that they indeed had considered various locations in various regions. Why France? “It is close to the fast growing European bioplastics market,” Francois pointed out, “it leverages on the already existing infrastructure of on an existing Total site and it increases the security of supply as we will then have two fully independent PLA production locations.” Both plants will produce the full range of Luminy PLA resins, including high heat and standard PLA types. “We are very pleased to announce this second PLA plant project located in Grandpuits on Total’s new “Zero petrol platform”, strengthening our successful partnership with Corbion,” Bernard Pinatel, President Refining & Chemicals at Total added. “This is fully in line with Total’s strategy to innovate and grow in circular economy solutions. Bioplastics are a great complement to meet the rising demand for polymers while contributing towards reducing end-of-life concerns”. 14 bioplastics MAGAZINE [05/20] Vol. 15

News By: Michael Thielen “And we do see a steady and healthy growth of 10- 20% per annum for the global PLA market over the recent years,” Francois added. He expects this growth to continue driven by requests from brand owners, consumers and governments to transition to a more circular and sustainable economy. Despite recent announcements about bans or restrictions on single use plastic items, Francois sees also opportunities: “While these regulations can have a negative impact for bioplastics in certain applications, they also provide opportunities for growth in others. Promoting and advancing the compostability and the recycling of PLAmade products is part of our strategy to ensure that PLA differentiates from conventional plastics and makes a positive contribution to solving the issues associated with plastics.” Just like the 75,000 tonnes per annum plant in Rayon, Thailand the new plant in France, or more precisely the Total site will include facilities for mechanical as well as chemical recycling of PLA. “This includes postindustrial PLA waste and eventually also post-consumer PLA waste,” as Francois explained. The lactic acid for the new plant will initially come from a Corbion LA plant in Spain which uses mainly locally grown sugar beet as a biomass resource. In addition, this new PLA investment accelerates further expansion plans for lactic acid, with a European location as one of the likely options. In the long run, Total Corbion PLA will source the lactic acid from its global LA network, with a focus on Thailand, where Corbion is currently building a new and bigger lactic acid production facility. Luminy PLA resins are biobased and made from annually renewable resources, offering a reduced carbon footprint versus many traditional plastics. At the end of its useful life, PLA products can be mechanically or chemically recycled. The biodegradable and compostable functionalities of PLA make it the material of choice for a wide range of markets and applications including fresh fruit packaging, food service ware, durable consumer goods, toys and 3D printing. The plans for a new large PLA production facility “is excellent news for Corbion, Total, our joint venture, and for the world,” says Olivier Rigaud, CEO of Corbion. “Fully in line with our purpose ‘Preserving what matters’, PLA is increasingly finding its place as a bioplastic, enabling acceleration towards a circular economy. In our recently released ‘Advance 2025’ strategy one of our goals is, together with Total, to become the market leader in PLA”. The new plant puts all three companies definitely on track to achieve that goal. View of the site in Grandpuits, France where Total Corbion PLA intends to build its second Luminy PLA plant bioplastics MAGAZINE [05/20] Vol. 15 15

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