Canadian Plastics

Biopolymer goes commercial

Plans for the first commercial-scale reactor for polyactide -- a polymer derived entirely from renewable agricultural resources -- have been announced by Cargill Dow Polymers, the 50-50 joint venture ...

April 1, 2000   Canadian Plastics



Plans for the first commercial-scale reactor for polyactide — a polymer derived entirely from renewable agricultural resources — have been announced by Cargill Dow Polymers, the 50-50 joint venture between Cargill and Dow Chemical.

Cargill Dow says it will build a 300 million-lb./yr. plant at Cargill’s complex in Blair, NE. The plant is scheduled to go into full operation toward the end of 2001. The polymer is being touted not only for its environmental benefits, but also for its material and performance properties by company officials.

“It (polyactide) has cost-performance advantages even though it is derived from carbohydrates rather than hydrocarbons,” notes William S. Stavropoulos, Dow’s president and CEO.

Researchers have attempted, without success, to make viable commercial plastics out of lactic acid for decades — until now. Cargill Dow is targeting polyactide for fibres, such as carpet, and packaging applications, such as films, thermoformed food containers and coated paper and board.

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The company says there is already great demand for polyactide and that the Blair unit’s capacity will be close to sold out by the time it goes into operation.


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