News briefs: Investments in renewable plastics

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Polymer Bioplastic

Two companies move into German bioplastics market, Brazilian firm Braskem claims ‘first’ 100 per cent renewable polypropylene and collaboration between PolyOne and ADM looks to create bio-based plasticizers.

Starch based polymer output on the up in Germany

Production of bioplastics in Germany is set to receive a boost with the announcement that the Australian based company, Plantic Technologies, is opening a production site for the processing of starch-based materials.

Its new €8.3m facility in Jena, in the centre of the country, will include equipment for thermoforming and extrusion of bioplastics.

Plantic technology is based on high amylose corn-starch.

Meanwhile, a partnership between Swiss manufacturer, Pyramid Technologies, and German Bioplastics is behind the establishment of another production facility in Brandenburg.

The two companies said that the site will be involved in the production of polylactic acid (PLA), is expected to commence operations in the second half of 2009, and will have a capacity of 60,000 tonnes annually.

BASF already revealed earlier in the year that it is to construct a new production facility in Ludwighshafen, which it claims will increase production of its biodegradable material, Ecoflex, by 60,000 tonnes.

According to Harald Keab, chairman of the board of the trade association, European Bioplastics, recycling initiatives, investment grants for research projects and legal measures enable the promotion and development of the bioplastics industry in Germany.

“Such incentives help to overcome substantial innovation obstacles, which creates a positive investment climate,”​ said Kaeb. “We would also welcome similar initiatives on a European level and in the other member states.”

Company claims its green polypropylene is 100 per cent renewable

Brazil-based manufacturer, Braskem, claims it has produced the first samples of polypropylene from 100 per cent renewable raw material with international certification.

It said that the samples were first obtained on laboratory scale and then in a pilot plant, where homopolymers and copolymers were produced.

“This innovation creates very promising perspectives for developing applications with this green resin, which has the same properties and characteristics that made the traditional polypropylene, among all other thermoplastics, the one with the fastest growth in consumption,”​ stated the company.

Braskem said that the green polypropylene was analyzed by the American laboratory, Beta Analytic, which attested to its renewable origin by using a methodology to detect fossil carbon in the sample.

Although there is still no projected date for this type of polypropylene to reach the market, the company said that it has established partnerships to accelerate the use of the green polymer in sectors such as food packaging.

Development of bio-based plasticizers

Bio-based plasticizers from corn and oilseeds for polymer formulations are set to be produced as a result of the recently announced collaboration between agri-giant, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), and polymer materials provider, PolyOne.

Plasticizers are used primarily to make plastics softer and more flexible. The global plasticizer market is worth $11 billion but is comprised mainly of petroleum-based products.

The two companies claim the move is in response to strong market interest in renewable technology as an alternative to the conventional petroleum-based plasticizers.

They said the combination of PolyOne’s expertise and global reach and ADM’s knowledge of agricultural-based chemistries and manufacturing techniques will lead to a new generation of plasticizers.

Related topics Processing & packaging

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