Futerro, Sulzer and TechnipFMC team to simplify manufacture of bioplastics
Three major process technology and equipment specialists, Futerro, Sulzer and TechnipFMC, have formed the PLAnet™ initiative in equal partnership to promote the production of sustainable plastics made of Poly-Lactic Acid (PLA). The strategic collaboration will support manufacturers interested in entering the bioplastic market by delivering integrated PLA technology packages.
PLA is a versatile bio-based and biodegradable polymer that can replace petroleum-based plastics in a wide range of applications. Different stages are required to convert sugars from crops into lactic acid, lactide and subsequently PLA.
Futerro, a well-established technology provider for lactic acid and lactide production, and Sulzer Chemtech, a leading specialist in separation and mixing technologies have over 25 years of experience in lactic acid and PLA’s related processes. Together they have further shown their commitment to facilitate the production of bioplastics by establishing a partnership with TechnipFMC, a leading global EPC contractor with experience in technology development and licensing with fast growing activities in bioplastics and green chemic
The agreement between the three parties offers to agricultural, chemical and fiber industries, a fully integrated package addressing the whole PLA value chain. In this way, customers can benefit from direct access to state-of-the-art, customizable solutions for all the aspects and stages of PLA production. PLAnet™ offers the possibility of a “one-stop shop” for customers interested in PLA production by providing a single point of contact and responsibility.
In particular, PLAnet™ supports the construction of plants of any size, including PLA facilities with a throughput of up to 100’000 tons per year - that permit manufacturers to save both capital expenditures (CAPEX) and operating expenses (OPEX) by providing for integrated and optimized plant section design.
Within the PLAnet™ partnership, Futerro’s proprietary technology focuses on the production of lactic acid and raw lactide from sugar or, directly, from biomass; Sulzer contributes the process for the purification of lactide and its polymerization to obtain PLA while TechnipFMC acts as technology integrator to deliver seamless and optimized Front-End Engineering Design (FEED) packages.
The promotion of greener alternatives to traditional plastics needs to be backed by suitable technologies that enable the industry to produce high-quality bioplastics in an efficient manner. We can make this possible via the PLAnet™ partnership between Futerro, Sulzer and TechnipFMC by leveraging our world-leading technologies, expertise and skills for the entire PLA value chain.
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From the April 2018 issue of Hydrocarbon Processing