Corbion announced earlier today that ‘it will not pursue a new PLA bioplastics plant’ in Grandpuits, France, through its TotalEnergies Corbion PLA joint venture, following its review of the investment case.
In September 2020, TotalEnergies announced plans to invest more than €500 million to convert its Grandpuits refinery into a zero-crude platform. The project would comprise the development of facilities for biofuels, bioplastics and plastic waste recycling as part of TotalEnergies strategy to get to net-zero emissions by 2050.
As part of this project, Total Corbion PLA also announced in September 2020 plans to build a 100 000 tonnes-per-annum biobased polylactic acid (PLA) plant at Grandpuits - the first in Europe - after its first 75,000 metric tonne/year plant was successfully launched in 2018 in Thailand. NextChem, a subsidiary of Italy-based industrial group Maire Tecnimont S.p.A. had been awarded a contract by Total Corbion PLA to carry out a Front-End Engineering Design (FEED) for the plant.
TotalEnergies issued a separate statement, also today, saying that it ‘noted the decision taken by its partner Corbion not to pursue the bioplastic production project, which will now be discontinued.’
However, the company added that ’in the light of the new investments announced today and others to come, TotalEnergies confirms the maintenance of 250 jobs at the site, in line with the commitments it made in September 2020’.
These investments included the doubling of the production of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and the development of low carbon energies at the Grandpuits site. The doubling of SAF production will bring the site’s annual production capacity to 285,000 tonnes.
The development of low carbon energies at the Grandpuits zero-crude platform, will include the construction of a biomethane production unit with an annual capacity of 80 gigawatthours (GWh), equivalent to the annual demand of 16,000 people. It will be supplied with organic waste from the biorefinery, and will prevent the emission of almost 20,000 tons of CO2 every year.
"These new projects further strengthen the site’s conversion, toward sustainability, decarbonisation and the circular economy," said Bernard Pinatel, President, Refining & Chemicals at TotalEnergies.