German industrial groupthyssenkrupp has commissioned a bioplastics plant for Jilin COFCO Biomaterial Corporation, a subsidiary of COFCO, China’s largest food and agriculture group and a domestic leader in the production of and processing of edible oils and oilseeds.

The new plant, located in Changchun city, produces all types of bioplastic polylactide (PLA), a 100% bio-based and compostable plastic which can replace conventional petroleum-based polymers used to produce packaging, fibres, textiles and engineering plastics.

“The starting material for PLA production is lactic acid, which is recovered from renewable resources such as sugar, starch or cellulose,” thyssenkrupp said in a news release on 18 October.

“The bioplastics market will continue to grow in the coming years, not least due to the increasing environmental awareness of industry, governments and consumers,” said Sami Pelkonen, CEO of the electrolysis & polymers technologies business unit of thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions.

“With our PLAneotechnology we want to do our bit to make the plastics sector more sustainable and resource-friendly.”

Thyssenkrupp’s PLAneo technology converts lactic acid into PLA and is transferable to large-scale plants with capacities of up to 100,000 tonnes/year.

For the new plant in Changchun, thyssenkrupp provided the engineering, key plant components and supervision of construction and commissioning.