The ground breaking ceremony which took place on November 9th, 2016 marked the official start of construction of the new PLA bioplastics polymerization plant at the existing Corbion site in Rayong, Thailand. Upon completion in 2018, it will be able to produce the complete Luminy® portfolio of PLA neat resins: from standard PLA to innovative, high heat resistant PLA.
The Honorable Minister of Industry, Doctor Atchaka Sibunruang was the Chair Lady in the ritual and spiritual ceremony of the ground breaking. Furthermore, the Governor of Rayong and the Deputy Secretary General of the Thai Board of Investment (BOI) were present. The Netherlands was officially represented by the Deputy Ambassador, Mr Guillaume Teerling.
The Minister of Industry and Corbion have a long standing relationship given that Dr Atchaka Sibunruang was already involved in the building of the lactic acid plant back in 2004 in her role as Senior Executive Investment Advisor at the Office of the BOI. She reinforced the significance of this development for Thailand in the field of sustainable solutions.
Figure 1 Dr Atchaka Sibunruang, Minister of Industry and Corbion’s CEO Tjerk de Ruiter place the memory stone.
In his speech, Tjerk de Ruiter highlighted the importance of this milestone: "At Corbion, we believe in building a great future for the people of today and generations to come . that's what we do here in Thailand with the construction of this plant, biobased and biodegradable plastics will certainly help to minimize adverse impacts on human health and the environment." He added: "We are now entering the next stage of construction, and we are confident that our world-class facility will deliver the innovative solutions that our customers are seeking."
The new 75 kTpa PLA plant will be constructed using Corbion's and Sulzer's proprietory polymerization technology, and key equipment will be supplied by Sulzer Chemtech Ltd (Switzerland).
In addition to the construction of this new PLA polymerization plant, Corbion will expand its existing lactide plant in Thailand by 25 kTpa. With this expansion, Corbion will be able to serve its current and future lactide customers. The lactide expansion will also enable the production of a wider range of lactides than is currently possible.
The targeted start-up date for the PLA polymerization plant and the lactide expansion is in the second half of 2018.
Figure 2: Corbion's CEO Tjerk de Ruiter and Dr Atchaka Sibunruang, Minister of Industry offering fruits and flowers to the spirits