"The bio-plastics market will continue to grow in the coming years, not least due to the increasing environmental awareness of industry, governments and consumers."
German industrial systems supplier Thyssenkrupp has recently announced that the world’s first commercial plant based on the company’s patented manufacturing process for bio-plastic polylactide (PLA), called PLAneo, has started production in Changchun, China.
The new plant is operated by the Jilin COFCO Biomaterial Corporation, a subsidiary of COFCO, China’s largest food and agriculture group and producer of edible oils and oilseeds.
The new facility is expected to produce 10,000 tonnes of PLA per year – a bio-based material which can replace conventional petroleum-based polymers used to produce 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 and polymers technologies business unit of Thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions.
He added: “With our PLAneo technology we want to do our bit to make the plastics sector more sustainable and resource-friendly. With it we enable our customers to produce high-quality bio-plastics with a wide range of properties – at a price that is competitive with conventional plastics.”
Thyssenkrupp’s PLAneo technology converts lactic acid into PLA and is transferable to large-scale plants with capacities of up to 100,000 tonnes per year.
The opening of the new plant is the latest in a string of new bio-plastic facilities to open this month.
Last week, Italian bio-plastics company Novamont launched its revamped Mater-Bioploymer plant with a significant expanded capacity from 120,000 tonnes to 150,000 tonnes per year. The converted facility, which previously manufactured polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and is based in Rome, will allow Novamont to increase its production of ORIGO-BI renewable bio-polyesters and MATER-BI compostable bio-plastics.
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