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Purac and Indorama plan PLA bioplastic plant

Purac and Indorama Ventures PLC are discussing plans to build a 10,000-tons/yr polylactic acid (PLA) bioplastics plant in Thailand, utilizing Purac's lactide with plans to expand to 100,000 tonnes/yr of production. The lactide monomers for the PLA bioplastic would be sourced from Purac's production plant in Rayong, Thailand, as well as other Purac sites.

The products would be marketed by IVL through its existing global marketing and sales network. The companies say the resulting combination of Purac's lactide and a unique PLA production process would result in a polymer that is stable at much higher temperature ranges than other bioplastics. The resulting polymer can be used for textile and packaging applications, including upholstery, disposable garments, awnings, food packaging, and disposable tableware.

In addition to being the largest polyester producer in the world, IVL is a leading manufacturer of raw materials for textiles and packaging. IVL's main products are terephthalic acid (PTA), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), and polyester fiber, with approximately 3500 employees and annual consolidated revenue of $3 billion in 2010.

Purac is part of CSM Global, a supplier of bakery products global market leader in lactic acid and lactic acid derivatives. It operates in business-to-business markets throughout Europe, North America, South America, and Asia, with annual sales of €3 billion and a workforce of around 10,000 employees in 25 countries.

PLA market leader NatureWorks LLC's production facility in Blair, NE, has annual capacity of 300 million lb (140,000 tonnes). Its lactic acid production site is collocated with the polymer facility and has annual capacity of 400 million lb. —MPW Editorial

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