PLA producer NatureWorks’ previously announced plan to construct a new, fully integrated production facility in Thailand has now taken a further step towards realisation.
Having now obtained the final authorisation from parent companies, GC International Corporation Company Limited, a subsidiary of PTT Global Chemical Public Company Limited (GC) and Cargill Incorporated (Cargill), NatureWorks will begin construction of a new complex at the Nakhon Sawan Biocomplex (NBC) in Nakhon Sawan Province in second quarter 2022. Calling the authorisation an ‘important milestone’, Rich Altice, President and CEO of NatureWorks, said that it ‘ensures we will be ready to begin construction in 2022 on an integrated manufacturing complex that will help us address the increasing global market demand for sustainable materials’.
The new facility, in which the company is investing upward of $600 million will include production sites for lactic acid, lactide, and polymer, making it the world’s first PLA facility designed to be fully integrated. It will have an annual capacity of 75,000 tons of Ingeo biopolymer and produce the full portfolio of Ingeo grades.
The decision to site the plant in Thailand was for that country further confirmation of its status as an increasingly important biopolymers hub in Asia. Thailand’s Board of Investment had in May approved NatureWorks’ application for the project.
As Dr. Kongrapan Intarajang, CEO of GC, pointed out, “Sustainability creates balanced growth in economic, social, and environmental dimensions, driven by the framework of the SDGs.”
“Cargill is excited to take this next step with GC to support the expansion of NatureWorks through its second production facility,” added Colleen May, president of Cargill Bioindustrial.
NatureWorks has also selected engineering partners for the next project phase. Jacobs previously provided the front-end engineering design for the new manufacturing site and will now complete the final detailed engineering for the project. Additionally, IAG, has been chosen to partner with NatureWorks on engineering and construction, providing project management, project controls, and procurement services. Both companies were chosen due to their expertise in executing large global capital projects.
The new facility is expected to open in 2024.