Partners poised to ink PLA joint venture

By Rory Harrington

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Lactic acid Polylactic acid Pla

CSM subsidiary Purac and Indorama Ventures Plc (IVL) are poised to reach agreement on setting up a polylactic acid (PLA) plant in Thailand to produce high quality material for the food packaging, textile and car industries.

Discussions between the two firms are at an “advanced stage although no definite agreement has been reached​”, Ian Blackford, investor relations manager for Purac parent company CSM told

The site is scheduled to have an initial capacity of 10,000 tons per annum (t/a), rising to 100,000 t/a once application specific grades have been developed, said a statement from the Dutch company.

The PLA will be based on high purity and GMO free lactides produced by Purac, said the investor manager. The lactide monomers for the production of PLA will be sourced its own production plant in Rayong, Thailand among other sites.

“The proprietary PLA production technology combined with our unique lactide raw material means we can deliver material that is stable at much higher temperature ranges than other bioplastics,”​ said Blackford.

PLA production involves three stages; extraction of the lactic acid, fermentation to lactides and then processing to polylactic polymers. As part of the joint venture, Purac will be responsible for the first two stages, while IVL will carry out the third.

Hot-fill applications

CSM said the enhanced properties of its polymer will allow it to be used in a variety of applications that have not been possible with other bio-based products so far and will open a large latent demand.

He added that the PLA was stable at 180°C which meant that it could be used for hot-fill applications in food packaging and even in the automotive sector.

CSM said it has chosen Thailand because the country was an excellent source of feedstock such as sugar and tapioca.

"This collaboration with IVL is an important step in the market development for PLA because in addition to being the largest polyester producer in the world, IVL is a leading manufacturer of raw materials for textiles and packaging​” says Gerard Hoetmer, chief executive officer of CSM. "This partnership will widen the scope of such biodegradable applications and accelerate our market development of PLA. It will be another milestone on the way towards providing an important role for bioplastics in the fast-growing packaging and materials space.”

Related topics Processing & Packaging

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