Thyssenkrupp commissions the world’s first commercial bioplastics plant for COFCO in China

The world’s first commercial plant based on the patented PLAneo technology recently started production in Changchun, China.

The PLA products manufactured from renewable resources such as sugar, starch, or cellulose, at the new bioplastic polylactide plant in Changchun, China.
The PLA products manufactured from renewable resources such as sugar, starch, or cellulose, at the new bioplastic polylactide plant in Changchun, China.

It is operated by the Jilin COFCO Biomaterial Corporation, a subsidiary of COFCO, China’s largest food and beverage group.

To reduce reliance on petroleum-based plastics, Thyssenkrupp has developed a manufacturing process for the bioplastic polylactide (PLA). The new plant produces all standard PLA types, among other things for the production of eco-friendly packaging, fibres, textiles and engineering plastics.

Sami Pelkonen, CEO of the electrolysis and polymers technologies business unit of Thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions, said: “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 is a 100% bio-based and compostable plastic, which, thanks to its physical and mechanical properties, can replace conventional oil-based polymers in many areas. The starting material for PLA production is lactic acid, which is recovered from renewable resources such as sugar, starch, or cellulose.

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 tonnes per year.

In developing the technology, Thyssenkrupp’s subsidiary Uhde Inventa-Fischer profited from decades of expertise gained from the construction of more than 400 polymerisation plants and extensive experience in the scale-up of new technologies.

For the new plant in Changchun, Thyssenkrupp provided the engineering, key plant components and supervision of construction and commissioning.   

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