A Russian company has begun the construction of a new industrial complex in western Russia for the manufacture of modified starch and biopolymers. Rustark intends to deep process wheat cereal to produce the raw materials for the manufacture of biodegradable plastics at the facility in Lipetsk, south of Moscow. It expects to start initial plant production in the four-stage €200m project as early as 2022. According to the investment plan, the first unit of the complex will begin by processing 500 tons of wheat per day, reaching its full capacity within 10 – 15 years. To mark the launch of construction by Rustark, an official time capsule laying ceremony recently took place on site in Lipetsk Special Economic Zone Gryazi district. It is planned to open the capsule in 2035 when Rustark aims to form an industrial cluster in Lipetsk to supply bio components for the global bioplastics industry. At the capsule placing ceremony were Russia’s deputy Agriculture Minister Oksana Lut, Lipetsk region’s acting governor Igor Artamonov, regional parliament speaker Pavel Putilin and Rustark partner Ivan Tyryshkin. “This is a purely innovative project. Advanced technologies will be applied which today, the whole world relies on for the production of biodegradable materials. “The innovation is that we make use of wheat as a renewable source of raw materials. This is a new word in ecology. Such biopolymers have a faster decomposition time, unlike (fossil-based) polyethylene and other plastics,” explained Rustark partner Ivan Tyryshkin. Eco friendly raw materials to be manufactured by Lipetsk-based Rustark, reported to be Russia’s sole modified starch producer, can be used to make plastics for various disposable products such as packaging, plastic cutlery and some clothing. Russia has a plentiful supply of the cereal raw material for starch and biopolymers production with much of what the country grows going to export. It recognises the potential low cost base for a new processing industry. “We do not have enough grain processing enterprises. As part of Russia’s grain strategy, we envisage an increase in the volume of such production,” commented the federal deputy agriculture minister. She said the federal government expects the emergence of new biopolymer companies. It already offers preferential loans for enterprises like Rustark. “We are developing additional support measures for cereal processors. We hope to introduce these mechanisms by the end of the year,” Minister Lut stressed.