NatureWorks has announced that they have signed a contract to license Plaxica’s Optipure® chemical processing technology for the production of D-lactic acid. The license provides NatureWorks with a low-cost route to produce D-lactic acid, a building block for an expanded range of performance Ingeo polymer grades. This investment is part of NatureWorks’ long-term strategy for leading the market with cost-effective, functional biopolymers and chemicals.
In the market for more than a decade, NatureWorks continues to broaden its portfolio of functional Ingeo polymers used in a host of consumer and industrial products including food serviceware, rigid and flexible packaging, toys, electronics, nonwoven filtration materials, and personal care products. Commenting upon the license investment, Bill Suehr, NatureWorks Chief Operating Officer said, “After investigating multiple sourcing strategies for D-lactic acid, we are pleased to be licensing the Plaxica Optipure® process. Access to competitively priced D-lactic acid is fundamental to NatureWorks’ strategy to broaden our Ingeo product offering.”
Suehr explained that, while small volumes of D-lactic acid have previously been available from producers in Europe and Asia, they have until now been at a substantive price premium to the Llactic acid which NatureWorks uses today. “D” and “L” lactic acid monomers are essentially identical yet “mirror images” of one another. These can be used to produce polymers that offer unique features such as higher melt point and broader processability. NatureWorks expects to have developmental samples available for market assessment in the second half of 2017.
Phil Goodier, Plaxica’s CEO said, “We are delighted to be working with NatureWorks, one of the world’s leading biopolymer companies, and proud that the acknowledged brand leader in PLA has selected Plaxica’s technology. This is an important milestone in Plaxica’s development as a global technology licensing business.”
The financial terms of the license were not disclosed. More information on NatureWorks can be found at www.natureworksllc.com and on Plaxica at www.plaxica.com.
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Notes to Editors
NatureWorks LLC is a company dedicated to meeting the world’s needs today without compromising the earth’s ability to meet the needs of tomorrow. NatureWorks LLC is the first company to offer a family of commercially available, low-carbon-footprint Ingeo™ lactides and biopolymers derived from 100 percent annually renewable resources with performance and economics that compete with oil-based intermediates, plastics, and fibers, and provide brand owners new cradle-to-cradle options after the use of their products. NatureWorks is jointly owned by Thailand’s largest chemical producer, PTT Global Chemical, and Cargill, an international producer and marketer of food, agricultural, financial, and industrial products and services. www.natureworksllc.com.
Plaxica Ltd. is a technology spin off from Imperial College London, UK, launched in 2009 to commercialize the research of the company’s CTO Dr Ed Marshall and Professor Vernon Gibson. Plaxica has developed a range of process technology license products in the fields of PLA, cellulosic sugars and their derivatives. Plaxica’s majority shareholders are Touchstone Innovations Limited and Invesco Asset Management. www.plaxica.com.