Thyssenkrupp AG has commissioned a bioplastic polylactide (PLA) plant in China based on its proprietary PLAneo technology.
The Changchun-based plant is the first purpose-built commercial-scale facility to use this technology and will be operated by Jilin COFCO Biomaterial Corp., a subsidiary of COFCO, China's largest food and beverage group.
In a previous announcement, Thyssenkrup said that the production capacity of the new plant would be around 10,000 tons of PLA per year. The new unit produces all standard PLA types - from fast crystallising types to nearly amorphous grades - for application in eco-friendly packaging, fibres, textiles and engineering plastics.
“The bioplastics market will continue to grow in the coming years, not least due to the increasing environmental awareness of industry, governments and consumers,” said Sami Pelkonen, CEO of the electrolysis & polymers technologies business unit of Thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions:
According to Pelkonen, PLA produced with the PLAneo technology has a competitive price compared to conventional plastics.
Polyactide (PLA) is a 100% bio-based and compostable plastic which can be used as an alternative to fossil-based polymers. The starting material for PLA production is lactic acid, which is recovered from renewable resources such as sugar, starch or cellulose.
Thyssenkrupp maintains that its “efficient” process can be easily transferred to large-scale plants with capacities of up to 100 kilotonnes per year.
The technology was developed by Thyssenkrupp subsidiary Uhde Inventa-Fischer, which has been involved in the construction of more than 400 polymerisation plants.
Thyssenkrupp provided the engineering, key plant components and supervision of construction and commissioning to the Changchun plant.