To reduce reliance on petroleum-based plastics, thyssenkrupp has developed a new manufacturing process for the bioplastic polylactide (PLA). The world’s first commercial plant based on the patented thyssenkrupp PLAneo® technology recently started production in Changchun, China. The new plant produces all standard PLA types to produce eco-friendly packaging, fibers, textiles, and engineering plastics.
Sami Pelkonen, CEO of the Electrolysis & Polymers Technologies business unit of thyssenkrupp commented: “The bioplastics market will continue to grow in the coming years, not least due to the increasing environmental awareness of industry, governments and consumers. With our PLAneo® technology we want to do our bit to make the plastics sector more sustainable and resource-friendly. With it we enable our customers to produce high-quality bioplastics with a wide range of properties – at a price that is competitive with conventional plastics.”
Polyactide (PLA) is a 100% bio-based and compostable plastic which, thanks to its physical and mechanical properties, can replace many conventional oil-based polymers. The starting material for PLA production is lactic acid, which is recovered from renewable resources such as sugar, starch or cellulose. The PLAneo® technology converts lactic acid into PLA in a particularly efficient and resource-friendly way. Another advantage is its transferability to large-scale plants with capacities of up to 100,000 tons per year.
Image Courtesy of thyssenkrupp.