12 Dezember 2007

Bioplastics: Focus on production capacities

Natureworks has less capacities than claimed so far; Braskem, Telles and Cereplast building new facilities

How much bioplastic is really produced? How close to real output are claimed capacities? A tricky question and of vital importance for producers as well as – present and prospective – processers of bioplastics. Several producers have recently given figures for current or planned capacities.

Natureworks: Production capacity only 70,000 tonnes
As prw.com reports, Natureworks, the leading manufacturer of PLA bioplastics, has disclosed the true capacity of its production unit. Eamonn Tighe, Natureworks business development manager in Europe, told delegates at last week’s EPN Bioplastics conference (cf. news of 2007-12-07), that the facility is currently capable of producing PLA at an annual rate of around 70,000 tonnes a year, half the 140,000 “nameplate” capacity it has consistently claimed for the plant since its start-up in 2003. Natureworks has just started a new tranche of investment at its four-year old fermentation and polymerisation plant at Blair/USA.

Braskem and Telles planning industrial production
Also at the EPN Bioplastics conference, two other companies talked of their plans for considerable production capacities in the forseeable future. In 2008, Braskem intends to start production of its bio-based PE. By the end of 2009, the company wants to produce 200.000 tonnes of Bio-PE. A factory producing PHA-based Mirel bioplastic will be built in Clinton/Iowa (USA) in 2008, as Dieter Hesse, Telles manager for Europe, declared. the planned capacity of the plant is 50.000 tonnes.

Cereplast: New facility to expand capacities
Cereplast, Inc., manufacturer of proprietary bio-based plastics, has announced the location of a new facility in Seymour, Ind. (USA) that will add half a billion pounds (approx. 220.000 tonnes) a year to Cereplast’s bio-plastic resin production capacity when the site is fully developed by early 2010. Operations will start at the site in January of 2008. When the site reaches full capacity in early 2010, it will employ up to 200 full-time staff. The new facility complements Cereplast’s current manufacturing operation in Hawthorne, Calif., which it will continue to operate.

(Cf. news of 2007-11-30, 2007-11-19.)

Source: PRW.com, 2007-12-10, and bioplastics24.com, 2007-12-11.

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