NatureWorks building new biopolymer production plant in Thailand
Completion of front-end engineering and recent project approval from the Thailand Board of Investment put the new fully integrated manufacturing complex on schedule to open in 2024.
Biopolymer maker NatureWorks LLC has announced plans to build a new, fully integrated polylactic acid (PLA) resin plant in Thailand.
In a June 3 news release, officials Minnetonka, Minn.-based NatureWorks said the Thailand Board of Investment approved the project last month.
The Thailand PLA production facility is anticipated to open by 2024. When fully operational the new plant will have an annual capacity of 75,000 tons of Ingeo biopolymer and will produce the full portfolio of Ingeo grades.
According to NatureWorks’ June 3 announcement, the company has already completed the front-end engineering design for the facility, with final detailed engineering currently underway.
“The new manufacturing complex will include production for lactic acid, lactide, and polymer making it the world’s first polylactide facility designed to be fully integrated,” the company said. “[We] will build and operate all three facilities, having both process and energy integration to increase efficiency of the manufacturing operation dedicated to Ingeo biopolymer production.”
In 2002, NatureWorks became the first company to produce PLA biopolymers at commercial scale. In 2013, NatureWorks expanded its facility in Blair, Nebraska to an annual total capacity of 150,000 metric tons, making it the largest PLA manufacturing plant in the world, the company said.