NatureWorks LLC will now offer for sale a range of polymer-grade lactides. Produced from lactic acid, these value added intermediates are used to produce Ingeo™ biopolymer, the first commercial-scale biopolymer that comes 100 percent from annually renewable resources instead of oil. NatureWorks says that it is selling Ingeo lactide intermediates for use in polymer applications in order to support rapidly growing global demand the company continues to see for biobased Ingeo plastics and fibers.
Previously, NatureWorks announced the doubling of Ingeo biopolymer supply availability, meeting its full nameplate capacity of 140,000 tons per year in June 2009.
“Our offer to supply polymer-grade lactides is a significant step forward in supporting the end market’s growing desire for products with authentic eco-credentials that meet or exceed performance expectations,” said Marc Verbruggen, president and chief executive officer of NatureWorks. “And, while we expect interest in our lactides primarily from specialty polymer producers, we welcome the opportunity to collaborate in partnerships where we can consider new and tailored grades that will meet the market needs of tomorrow.”
Lactide partners may also take advantage of a new Ingeo licensee package. Under select terms, NatureWorks will supply access to trademarks and application patents needed to support and enable the wider adoption of Ingeo biopolymers.
NatureWorks is the world’s largest supplier of biopolymers under its Ingeo brand. From sourcing plant material to resin shipment, Ingeo biopolymer consumes significantly less fossil-fuel-based energy and generates significantly fewer greenhouse gas emissions than the oil-based polymers it can replace.
Ingeo biopolymers are produced from uniquely eco-friendly lactide intermediates in Blair, Nebraska. NatureWorks plans to make 10,000 – 20,000 tons of its lactide product portfolio available annually through this new initiative.
Source: NatureWorks LLC, press release, 2010-03-15.