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Corbion and Total to build first world-scale PLA plant in Europe

By Mary Page Bailey |

Total S.A. (Paris, France) and Corbion (Amsterdam, the Netherlands) announced their intention to build a new PLA (Poly-Lactic Acid) bioplastics plant in Europe through their Total Corbion PLA joint venture. The plant is expected to have a capacity of 100,000 metric tons per year (m.t./yr), being the first world-scale PLA production facility in Europe. The new plant is planned to be located in Grandpuits, France and to be operational in 2024.

This project in Grandpuits is one part of Total’s massive overhaul of the site, which will result in a transition from processing petroleum-based product to sustainable bio-products.

Olivier Rigaud, CEO of Corbion is delighted with the development of the joint venture and the market for PLA: “This is excellent news for Corbion, Total, our joint venture, and for the world. Fully in line with our purpose ‘Preserving what matters’, PLA is increasingly finding its place as a bioplastic, enabling acceleration towards a circular economy. In our recently released Advance 2025 strategy one of our goals is, together with Total, to become the market leader in PLA. This new plant puts us firmly on track to achieve that goal.”

“We are very pleased to announce this second PLA plant project located in Grandpuits, France on Total’s new “Zero petrol platform”, strengthening our successful partnership with Corbion. This is fully in line with Total’s strategy to innovate and grow in circular economy solutions. Bioplastics are a great complement to meet the rising demand for polymers while contributing towards reducing end-of-life concerns”, says Bernard Pinatel, President Refining & Chemicals at Total.

The plant construction is expected to require capital expenditures of approximately €200 million. Corbion and Total will participate equally in the funding of the project; third party debt may also be part of the financing. This event also triggers a final settlement related to the Total Corbion PLA joint venture lactide plant*.  

Corbion will continue to be the supplier of lactic acid to the Total Corbion PLA joint venture. Corbion earlier this year announced it will build a new lactic acid plant with the latest low emission technology in Thailand, expected to be operational in 2023. This PLA investment accelerates further expansion plans for lactic acid, with a European location as one of the likely options.

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