The leading manufacturer of low-carbon polylactic acid (PLA) biopolymers is on track to complete construction on their newest manufacturing facility with full production anticipated in 2025
PLYMOUTH, Minn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–NatureWorks, a leading manufacturer of polylactic acid (PLA) biopolymers made from renewable resources, has made significant progress on the construction of their new fully integrated Ingeo™️ PLA biopolymer manufacturing facility in Nakhon Sawan Province, Thailand. As a fully integrated PLA complex, the plant will include three manufacturing facilities: lactic acid fermentation, lactide monomer production, and polymerization. The facility will have an annual capacity of 75,000 tons of Ingeo biopolymer and produce the full portfolio of Ingeo grades. This effort reflects the company’s commitment to expanding customer access to fully biobased, low-carbon biomaterials with unique performance attributes valued by global downstream packaging and fiber markets.
“The construction of our new facility is a significant undertaking that represents NatureWorks’ continued investment both in the Asia Pacific region and in the expansion of the biobased materials market,” said Steve Bray, VP of Operations at NatureWorks. “We have seen a rise in demand for Ingeo biopolymers throughout the Asia Pacific region, and this new complex will allow us to continue to sustainably and efficiently supply our markets with the highest quality biopolymers.”
The construction of this new facility will support rapid growth in multiple different markets including 3D printing, nonwovens for hygiene, compostable coffee capsules, tea bags, flexible packaging, and sustainable food serviceware. Construction is on track to support projected start-up activities and full production in 2025. Ingeo biopolymer produced at this site will be made from sugarcane, an annually renewable feedstock that is locally abundant and will be sourced from farms within a 50-kilometer radius of the Nakhon Sawan site.
“Over the last decade, the global materials market increasingly prioritized the use of biobased, sustainably sourced materials in order to reduce the impact on climate and facilitate climate-friendly processes like food scrap diversion from landfill to compost through the use of compostable materials,” said Jill Zullo, CEO at NatureWorks. “The market’s evolution has redefined the scope of what we can accomplish, allowing us to think bigger when it comes to our manufacturing expansion. This new facility will enable us to meet growing consumer demand and continue providing unparalleled service to our international customer base.”
NatureWorks also continues to strengthen its position in the United States. Most recently the company was honored with leading industry safety awards for its facilities in Minnesota and Nebraska. The Minnesota Safety Council awarded NatureWorks the Award of Honor, their top award, for employee safety efforts at their global headquarters and advanced biopolymers R&D facility in Plymouth, Minn. The Nebraska National Safety Council recognized the NatureWorks manufacturing facility in Blair, Nebr. as one of Nebraska’s Safest Companies with Distinction for the 20th year in a row.
“We are a safety-first culture at NatureWorks,” said Bill Suehr, Chief Operating Officer at NatureWorks. “It’s a core value for operations in our current facilities that also extends to our teams and partners involved in constructing and running our new manufacturing plant in Thailand.”
NatureWorks is an advanced materials company offering a broad portfolio of biopolymers and biochemicals made from renewable resources. With performance and economics that compete with oil-based materials, naturally advanced Ingeo™ biomaterials are valued for their unique functional properties and used in products from coffee capsules and appliances to tea bags and 3D printing filament. NatureWorks is jointly owned by Thailand’s largest ASEAN leading integrated petrochemical and refining company, GC, and Cargill, which provides food, agriculture, financial and industrial products and services to the world.
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