“Bio-plastics are a great complement to our more traditional petrochemicals products to meet the rising demand for polymers while contributing towards reducing end-of-life concerns.”
The bio-based sector is set to experience a boost after oil giant Total and Dutch biochemicals specialist Corbion recently announced that they have started operations at their new bio-plastics plant in Rayong, Thailand. The facility, run by the joint venture named Total Corbion PLA, will be able to produce 75,000 tonnes of polylactic acid (PLA) per year.
The products will meet customers’ needs in a wide range of markets, including packaging, consumer goods, 3D printing fibres, and the automotive industries, Total Corbion PLA said in a statement.
According to the joint venture, PLA is experiencing strong global demand. PLA products can be mechanically or chemically recycled, or in some cases composted and returned to the soil as fertiliser.
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. In addition to this, the company’s 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 of this state-of-the-art plant establishes Total Corbion PLA as a world-scale PLA bio-plastic producer, ideally located to serve growing markets from Asia Pacific to Europe and the Americas,” said Stephane Dion, CEO of the joint venture.
She added: “The subsequent increase in global PLA capacity will enable manufacturers and brand owners to move into the circular economy and produce bio-based products with lower carbon footprints and multiple end of life options."
"I’m very pleased that the joint venture has started-up the second-largest PLA bio-plastics plant in the world. This achievement is fully in line with our strategy, to expand in petrochemicals and, at the same time, innovate in low-carbon solutions. Bio-plastics are a great complement to our more traditional petrochemicals products to meet the rising demand for polymers while contributing towards reducing end-of-life concerns,” added Bernard Pinatel, President Refining & Chemicals at Total.
“This is good news for consumers and producers who want to make a conscious choice to improve their carbon footprint and make their contribution to a circular economy. A world of innovation and business opportunities has opened up while contributing to a better world,” explained Tjerk de Ruiter, CEO at Corbion.