France's Total Petrochemicals and Galactic Escanaffles have entered a joint-venture to produce 1,500 tpa of polylactic acid (PLA) for use in bioplastics, including packaging. The plant will be based at Galactic Escanaffles site, Belgium. A research and development project, scheduled to run for up to 5 years, will begin concurrently. The companies have set up a joint venture company, Futerro, to support the development. Finance for the project has been made available under a support programme from the Walloon Region, where the Galactic plant is located.
This will be a JV to develop production processes and a pilot plant for polylactic acid (PLA). Galactic is a Belgian biotechnology company that produces lactic acid and a subsidiary of sugar producer Finasucre.
Lactic acid for the project will be supplied by Galactic. In the R&D work, there will be no differentiation in the crop source, with the lactic acid derived from the fermentation of sugar (beet or cane) or starch (corn, wheat, potato or manioc).