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A PLA plant with new Sulzer/Purac technology starts up in the Netherlands  

By Gerald Ondrey |

The first polylactic acid (PLA) plant running with innovative Sulzer  technology was successfully put into service by Synbra Technology in Etten Leur, the Netherlands (photo, below). The plant was built by Sulzer Chemtech Ltd. (Winterthur, Switzerland; www.sulzerchemtech.com) and is based on a cost-efficient polymerization process jointly developed with Purac (Gorinchem, the Netherlands; www.purac.com), a company of the Dutch CSM group. The plant can produce up to 5,000 ton/yr PLA and Synbra plans to further expand the capacity.  The construction of the plant was completed in early 2011, followed by a commissioning and testing period. The start-up has been successfully finalized and various grades of high quality PLA are being produced.  "Plastics made from renewable raw materials are becoming increasingly more important and have a high market potential", says Torsten Wintergerste, director Polymer Technology at Sulzer Chemtech. "They constitute a sustainable alternative to conventional oil-based plastics". The bioplastic PLA can be used in many applications, and is produced through the ring-opening polymerization of lactide monomers. The lactide monomers are based on lactic acid produced by the fermentation…
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