The company announced it has completed pre-engineering works for the facility and is entering the basic-engineering phase.
Biobased & biodegradable bioplastic
“We have now obtained the necessary technical and financial validation for such a plant,” said Tjerk de Ruiter, CEO, Corbion.
Set to have an annual capacity of 75 kT, the factory will be located in Thailand, Rayong Province at the existing Corbion site where it will produce PLA polymers, ranging from standard PLA to high-heat resistant PLA.
PLA is a bioplastic which is both biobased and biodegradable.
Corbion said it will also expand its existing lactide plant in Thailand by 25 kT per annum.
With this expansion the company will be able to serve both its own PLA plant and current and future lactide customers.
The lactide expansion will also enable the production of a wider range of lactides than is currently possible.
Targeted start-up second half 2018
Construction, which is expected to require capital expenditures of approximately €65m for the PLA plant and €20m for the lactide plant, is expected to start later this year with a targeted start-up in the second half of 2018.
Corbion’s pre-marketing activities continue and a portfolio of PLA resins is commercially available for technical validation.
FoodProductionDaily reported on Corbion’s strategy, Disciplined Value Creation, last year, where the company plans to accelerate its growth into the biotechnology arena, making the next step in the bioplastics value chain by becoming a PLA producer.
It will also continue to explore strategic opportunities as part of its PLA growth.
de Ruiter said at the time, given the firm’s strong position in lactic acid, high heat technology and the market need for a second PLA producer, it plans to forward integrate in the bioplastics value chain, from being a lactide provider to a PLA producer.
“For the food industry, this latest development should boost confidence for packaging manufacturers looking to produce PLA food packaging,” he said.
“PLA is particularly suited to compostable applications such as thin films, bags and coffee capsules for example.
“Corbion will remain active in the production and development of lactic acid and its derivatives, continuing to deliver food ingredients to enhance freshness and safety of foods.”
He added, it hassigned LOI’s with over 15 parties. Many of them are already using significant amounts of PLA, while others will enter the market with PLA products over the next few years.