Plaxica’s Versalac technology enables the production of low cost lactic acid, a platform chemical for the production of a variety of bio-chemical products including polylactic acid.
Traditionally lactic acid has been produced through the fermentation of food grade sugars, an expensive process that requires high grade raw materials. As Versalac is a chemical process, it is tolerant to chemical impurities and therefore a wide range of feedstock can be used including waste from the forestry and agriculture industries. This results in production of a high purity lactic acid with a very low variable cost base.
Plaxica has developed strong relationships with both upstream feedstock owners such as the pulp and paper industry and with leading players in the downstream lactic acid and derivatives market.
The global polymers market is worth more than $400bn in annual sales and has grown at an average of 3.5% per year over the last two decades. The current biopolymers market is in excess of $2bn per annum and is growing at more than 10% per year. PLA has 40% of this market, at some $800m, and this is forecast to grow to $1bn by 2016.