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The project in Ningbo of Zhejiang Depei New Material, a subsidiary of Zhejiang Youcheng New Materials, is part of the company’s strategy to support the large-scale adoption of sustainable plastics and fibers made from renewable resources, such as biomass from agricultural processes. In particular, the new plant will produce plant-based L-lactide. This is an essential building block to obtain recyclable and compostable polylactic acid (PLA) bioplastic, which can be used in a wide range of applications, from packaging to textiles and medical equipment.

Sulzer’s separation technology will be at the heart of the processing facility and used to purify L-lactide dimers. The company has been selected based on its extensive expertise in sugar-to-PLA processes as well as its comprehensive portfolio of state-of-the-art separation products. Sulzer’s mass transfer components are included in most industrial-scale PLA plants worldwide.

The unit in Ningbo will leverage a unique hybrid process that combines distillation and crystallization to deliver materials of high purity grades while avoiding any thermal degradation. As a result, Zhejiang Depei New Material will be able to deliver high-quality lactide for the production of transparent, heat-resistant crystalline PLA for a broad range of industries.

General Manager at Zhejiang Depei New Material, comments: “We look forward to collaborating with Sulzer to develop this new, state-of-the-art processing facility. As the Chinese market for recyclable bioplastics is skyrocketing, the advanced solutions from Sulzer will provide us a competitive edge to address this high demand with high-quality biomaterials.”

 

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