NatureWorks moves into production of D-lactic acid

NatureWorks has announced that it has signed a contract to license Plaxica’s Optipure chemical processing technology for the production of D-lactic acid. The license provides NatureWorks with a low-cost route to produce D-lactic acid, a building block for a further range of performance Ingeo PLA grades.

xThis investment is part of NatureWorks’ long term strategy for leading the market with cost effective, functional biopolymers.

In the market for more than a decade, NatureWorks continues to broaden its portfolio of functional Ingeo bioplastics, which are used in a host of consumer and industrial products, from food service ware and rigid and flexible packaging to toys, electronics, nonwoven filtration materials and personal care products.

Plaxica, funded in 2008, is a spin-out from, and based, at Imperial College London developing a new generation of low cost biopolymers derived from renewable resources. The company is delighted that NatureWorks has selected its technology. This is an important milestone in Plaxica’s development as a global technology licensing business,” said Phil Goodier, Plaxica’s CEO.

Natureworks COO Bill Suehr motivated the decision, explaining that “After investigating multiple sourcing strategies for D-lactic acid, we are pleased to be licensing the Plaxica Optipure process.”
“Access to competitively priced D-lactic acid is fundamental to NatureWorks’ strategy to broaden our Ingeo product offering.”

Suehr said that while small volumes of D-lactic acid have previously been available from producers in Europe and Asia, they have until now been at a substantial price premium to the L-lactic acid which NatureWorks uses today. “D” and “L” lactic acid monomers are essentially identical yet “mirror images” of one another. In combination, the two can produce polymers that offer unique features such as higher melt point and melt strength.

NatureWorks expects to begin sampling new Ingeo grades to customers in the second half of 2017.

Post time: Jun-15-2017
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