LG Chem partners ADM to increase bioplastic production in US

US – South Korea-based LG Chem in collaboration with Archer Daniels Midland Co. has launched two US-based joint ventures, GreenWise Lactic and LG Chem Illinois Biochem, to meet demand for plant-based products and bioplastics.

The launch of the joint ventures follows a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by the companies in September 2021.

The first venture, GeenWise Lactic, aims to produce up to 150,000 tons annually of high-purity corn-based lactic acid.

GreenWise Lactic would be majority owned by ADM, which would contribute fermentation capacity from its Decatur bioproducts facility to the venture.

The second venture, LG Chem Illinois Biochem, would use products produced by GreenWise Lactic to produce approximately 75,000 metric tons of polylactic acid (PLA) per year.

LG Chem Illinois Biochem would be majority owned by LC Chem, with the proposed facility built in Decatur, Illinois.

Construction is currently scheduled to begin in 2023, pending final investment decisions. The projects could be complete by late 2025 or early 2026, according to LG Chem.

PLA is a biodegradable bioplastic made with lactic acid. The material is primarily used in food containers, straws, water bottles, tableware, and tea bags.

The proposed LG Chem Illinois Biochem facility would have the capacity to produce roughly 2.5 billion 500-milliliter (16.91-ounce) water bottles each year.

According to ADM, global demand for lactic acid, which is also broadly used by the food, feed and cosmetics industries, was valued at US$2.9 billion last year, with an expected annual growth rate of 8 percent.

Global demand for bioplastics and biopolymers is expected to grow from US$10.7 billion in 2021 to US$29.7 billion in 2026, an annual growth of 22.7 percent.

“Sustainability is one of the enduring global trends that is powering ADM’s strategy and growth,” said Juan R. Luciano, CEO of ADM.

“Our BioSolutions platform is helping us meet that demand by redeploying Carbohydrate Solutions production capacity to fast-growing, higher-margin segments – including pharmaceuticals and personal care, textiles and paper products.”

Commenting on the joint venture, Hak Cheol Shin, chief executive at LG Chem, concluded: “The establishment of this joint venture is a sustainable growth strategy that can directly contribute in solving environmental issues such as climate change and waste plastics.

“Based on eco-friendly materials, which is an axis for new growth engines, we will respond to the rapidly changing market and customers, while becoming a market leader.”

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