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April 25, 2013

Sulzer awarded contract for biopolymer production Plant in Asia

Gerald Ondrey

Sulzer Ltd. (Winterthur, Switzerland; has been awarded a contract for the delivery of a production plant based on Sulzer's proprietary polylactic acid (PLA) technology (for more process details, see Chem. Eng., March 2012; The facility, with a capacity of more than 10,000 ton/yr, will produce high performance PLA for a broad range of applications. Commercial production is planned to start in the second half of 2014.

Both parties have agreed to leverage Sulzer's technology and pilot facilities to support the customer in the development of innovative solutions for the Asian polymer market.

Sulzer's proprietary technology allows the continuous production of high- performance PLA grades with very low residual-monomer levels and a wide possible viscosity range. The new PLA produced with Sulzer technology exhibits an excellent crystallinity and withstands temperatures as high as 180°C. Applications in the automotive, electronics and the textile industry based on this new type of material are currently under development and will see their market appearance in the near future.

In order to further facilitate the PLA market development and to emphasize its commitment to the biopolymer industry, Sulzer has recently started-up its own 1,000-ton/yr PLA pilot plant in Switzerland.


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