Corbion, the global market leader in lactic acid, lactic acid derivatives and lactides, yesterday announced it has completed the pre-engineering for a PLA polymerization plant and is entering the basic-engineering phase. Following strong customer interest in PLA, Corbion commenced with pre-engineering in 2015.
“We have now obtained the necessary technical and financial validation for such a plant,” commented Tjerk de Ruiter, CEO of Corbion.
The plant, with an annual capacity of 75 kT, will be located in Thailand, Rayong Province at the existing Corbion site. It will be able to produce a complete portfolio of PLA polymers, ranging from standard PLA to innovative high-heat resistant PLA.
Additionally, Corbion will expand its existing lactide plant in Thailand by 25 kTpa. 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.
Construction, which is expected to require capital expenditures of approximately € 65 million for the PLA plant and € 20 million 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. As part of its strategy Disciplined Value Creation, announced on 30 October 2014, Corbion is accelerating its thrust into the biotechnology arena, making the next step in the bioplastics value chain by becoming a PLA producer. The Dutch company will also continue to explore strategic opportunities as part of its PLA growth strategy. PLA is a unique bioplastic, being both biobased and biodegradable.