Canadian Plastics

NatureWorks authorized to build $600 million manufacturing plant in Thailand

The complex in Nakhon Sawan Provincewill include production sites for lactic acid, lactide, and polymer.

August 9, 2021   Canadian Plastics

The new NatureWorks manufacturing complex will be built at the Nakhon Sawan Biocomplex in Nakhon Sawan Province, Thailand. Image Credit: NatureWorks LLC

Biopolymer maker NatureWorks LLC has obtained final authorization from its parent companies GC International Corp. and Cargill Inc. to build a new polylactic acid (PLA) resin manufacturing complex in Thailand.

In a statement, Minnetonka, Minn.-based NatureWorks said it plans to invest in excess of US$600 million to construct the complex, which will include production sites for lactic acid, lactide, and polymer.

When completed, the plant will be the world’s first PLA facility designed to be fully integrated, NatureWorks said.

“This authorization was an important milestone that ensures we will be ready to begin construction in 2022 on an integrated manufacturing complex that will help us address the increasing global market demand for sustainable materials,” said NatureWork’s president and CEO Rich Altice.

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Construction of the new manufacturing complex to be located at the Nakhon Sawan Biocomplex (NBC) in Nakhon Sawan Province will begin in the second quarter of 2022. With an expected opening in 2024, the facility will have an annual capacity of 75,000 tons of Ingeo biopolymer and produce the full portfolio of Ingeo PLA grades.

NatureWorks has been producing PLA biopolymers at commercial scale since 2002.

In addition to the new plant in Thailand, NatureWorks expanded its plant in Blair, Nebraska in 2013 and again in 2020.

“The expanded global production of Ingeo biopolymers will support growth in markets including 3D printing and hygiene as well as compostable coffee capsules, tea bags, flexible packaging, and food serviceware that demand sustainable, low-carbon materials,” NatureWorks said.


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