The FINANCIAL — Total Corbion PLA, a 50/50 joint venture between Total and Corbion, announces the start-up of its 75,000 tonnes per year PLA (Poly Lactic Acid) bioplastics plant in Rayong, Thailand.
The plant has successfully produced Luminy PLA resins. This bioplastic provides a valuable contribution towards the circular economy being 100% renewable and biodegradable and offering multiple environmentally-friendly waste solutions.
The new facility will produce a broad range of Luminy PLA resins from renewable, non-GMO sugarcane sourced locally in Thailand: from standard PLA to innovative, high heat PLA and PDLA1 with unique properties. The products will meet customers’ needs in a wide range of markets notably packaging, consumer goods, 3D printing, fibers and automotive and are specifically optimized for extrusion, thermoforming, injection molding and fiber spinning processes.
At the end of their useful life, PLA products can be mechanically or chemically recycled, or in some cases composted and returned to the soil as fertilizer.
Total Corbion PLA will leverage on the integration with its lactide plant, the monomer required for the production of PLA, that has simultaneously been expanded to 100,000 tonnes per year production capacity. Furthermore, the 1,000 tonnes per year PLA pilot plant, which has been operational since the end of 2017, is located on the same site and will be used for product development.
The start-up marks a major milestone for both the joint venture and the bioplastics market. With this additional 75,000 tonnes per year facility, the global production of PLA bioplastics will increase by almost 50% to 240,000 tonnes per year. PLA is a fast-growing polymer market with an estimated annual growth rate of 10% to 15%.