Total Corbion PLA, a 50/50 joint venture between Total and Corbion, has started operations at its new bioplastics facility in Rayong, Thailand.


Image: Total Corbion PLA's new 75,000 tons per year PLA plant in Rayong, Thailand. Photo: Courtesy of Total Corbion.

The Luminy PLA resins, a type of bioplastics, are successfully produced at the plant and are 100% renewable and biodegradable. Total said the bioplastics provide a valuable contribution towards the circular economy offering multiple eco-friendly waste solutions.

The new plant is expected to produce a range of Luminy PLA resins from renewable, non-GMO sugarcane supplied locally in Thailand, starting from standard PLA to innovative, high heat PLA and PDLA1 with unique properties.

The products are designed to serve the customers’ needs in a range of markets like packaging, consumer goods, 3D printing, fibers and automotive and are specifically optimized for extrusion, thermoforming, injection molding and fiber spinning processes.

PLA products can be mechanically or chemically recycled, or may be composted and returned to the soil as fertilizer after their life.

Total Corbion PLA CEO Stephane Dion said: “The start-up of this state-of-the-art plant establishes Total Corbion PLA as a world-scale PLA bioplastic producer, ideally located to serve growing markets from Asia Pacific to Europe and the Americas.

“The subsequent increase in global PLA capacity will enable manufacturers and brand owners to move into the circular economy and produce bio-based products with lower carbon footprints and multiple end of life options.”

Total Corbion PLA’s lactide plant has been expanded to production capacity of 100,000 tons per year.

In addition to this PLA pilot plant located on the same site with 1,000 tons per year capacity will be used for product development.

With this start-up, the global production of PLA bioplastics will increase by almost 50% to 240,000 tons per year and marks a major milestone for both the joint venture and the bioplastics market.

PLA is a fast-growing polymer market with an estimated annual growth rate of 10% to 15%.