Bioplastics made from renewable raw materials have a high market potential. According to estimates, production is expected to be more than 1.5 million tons per year in 2020 . They constitute a sustainable alternative to conventional oil-based plastics. For long-term success in the industry, it is crucial to find ways to create bioplastics that are more resistant to heat, and to make them more competitive in price.
Sulzer, in cooperation with a strategic partner, has developed a novel and cost-effective polymerization technology to produce high-quality bioplastics.
Key characteristics of the polymerization technology
- The starting material is lactide, which is produced through the fermentation of sugar.
- With its substantially improved thermal stability, the new product endures temperatures of up to 200ºC.
- The product is useable in many applications, such as cups and packing materials.
Bioplastics demo and pilot plants
Sulzer operates an in-house pilot plant for the production of sample materials and continues to conduct research to improve technology. A demo plant with a capacity of 1 000 tons per year allows customers to carry out tests, and it closes the gap between lab scale and industrial scale. The first semi-industrial plant was installed at a client site in the Netherlands at the beginning of 2011.