FUTERRO, a subsidiary of the Belgian GALACTIC group, has started operating the first integrated PLA production unit in China in collaboration with its historical partner BBCA Biochemical.
PLA is a bioplastic made of lactic acid, which is itself produced by the fermentation of corn sugar or any other form of carbohydrate from biomass. Located in the city of Bengbu (Anhui), the PLA unit has a capacity of 30,000 tons/year and is supplied by a lactic acid unit with a capacity of 80,000 tons, that also supplies a company belonging to GALACTIC producing food ingredients based on lactic acid for the Asian market.
The 3 factories were built in record time of 24 months by a mixed Belgian-Chinese team.
For FUTERRO and the GALACTIC group, it is the result of 30 years of work dedicated to the development of cutting-edge technology for the production, use and recycling of PLA.
The new lactic acid and PLA units incorporate new patented technologies that allow the production of high- quality products at competitive costs. FUTERRO and BBCA are already planning to bring the lactic acid production to 180,000 tons/year (which will make it one of the largest units in the world) and that of PLA to 100,000 tons/year (which will be Asia’s leading unit in terms of capacity).
“This first plant is an important step in FUTERRO’s evolution. Today, we see that the PLA is beginning to find its place in the world of plastics not only due to its natural origin but also to its intrinsic properties,” said Frédéric van Gansberghe, CEO of FUTERRO.
“We believe that after 30 years of development, the PLA will experience a strong acceleration in the upcoming years. If speaking only about China, the number of new applications that have been prepared in advance by the local industry in anticipation of the opening of our factory is impressive: food packaging in injected form, films, foams, insulation products, agricultural films, textile fibers, 3D filaments, cases for electronics, furniture, construction joineries, carpets, bedding, filtrations, bottles and cans, auto parts…”
FUTERRO is offering licenses for the production of lactic acid by fermentation monomer, PLA and LOOPLA, which is a new recycling process for converting PLA back into lactic acid. The PLA has a low carbon foot – print which minimizes the impact of its production on the global warming.