Futerro has started up its 1500 tpa demo unit in Escanaffles, Belgium to test a state-of-the-art technology for the production of Polylactic Acid (PLA). The technology has been developed by the two partners Galactic and Total Petrochemicals. Futerro is a 50/50 JV between the two partners that was established in September 2007. The demo unit will be used to test and improve the successive steps in this process during an internal evaluation, which is expected to last around six months. By that time, Futerro will be able to offer a full range of products made from lactic acid, including lactide, oligomers and PLA polymers for the packaging market, especially food packaging as well as sustainable applications.
This clean, innovative and competitive technology, based on a research and development program launched at the creation of the joint venture, entails two main phases. The first is the preparation of the monomer; the lactide, and its purification from lactic acid, as part of the fermentation of sugar from bee. The second is the polymerisation of the monomer to produce biodegradable plastic granules of vegetable origin.