[Photo provided by LG Chem Ltd.]
South Korea`s LG Chem and major American grain processing company Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) have agreed to set up a joint factory in the U.S. for commercial production of corn-based raw materials for bioplastics.
LG Chem said it signed a Heads of Agreement (HOA) with ADM for the establishment of a lactic acid (LA) and polylactic acid (PLA) joint venture at ADM`s headquarters in Chicago.
The two aim to complete a definitive agreement in the first quarter next year to build the PLA plant with an annual capacity of 75,000 tons and an LA production plant by 2025.
LG Chem will be the first Korean company to build a PLA plant capable of integrated production from raw materials to final products.
PLA is a common biodegradable plastic based on LA from fermented and refined glucose extracted from corn. PLA is mainly used for food packaging containers and tableware. Its eco-friendly materials are naturally decomposed in months by microorganisms under certain conditions.
According to industry data, the global bioplastics market is expected to grow from 12 trillion won ($10.2 billion) in 2021 to 34 trillion won in 2026 while demand for biodegradable plastics is increasing due to the global regulations on the use of disposable products.
ADM, one of the world’s largest processors of agricultural products and suppliers of food ingredients, has a technical advantage in the production of glucose, the essential raw material for bio-based chemicals and fermentation technology using glucose.
The joint venture will allow LG Chem to integrate renewable biomaterials into the development of various high-added-value products and secure a stable supply of raw materials and the capacity for commercial production of high-purity LA.
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