B&F PLA has completed the construction of i China’s first fully-integrated sugar-to-PLA (polylactic acid) plant located in Bengbu, Anhui Province.
The facility utilizes Sulzer’s distillation, crystallization and polymerization technologies and has the capacity to produce 30,000 tonnes of PLA per year.
The new plant uses glucose from locally sourced corn to produce lactic acid and different grades of PLA, allowing B&F PLA to support the expanding market for PLA materials. More precisely, the manufacturer is now able to deliver plant-based polymers with different molecular weights and L(+)/D(-) ratios to provide suitable materials for a wide variety of applications.
Sulzer, the leader in separation and mixing technologies, played a crucial role in the construction of the plant, which was completed in record time. The company designed, engineered and supplied customized mass transfer equipment for the purification of lactide and polymerization processes. Extensive remote assistance during pre-commissioning, commissioning and start-up was also provided to help B&F PLA begin its operations quickly and smoothly.
The successful completion of this project was enabled by Sulzer’s extensive experience in delivering customized equipment and key processing units for bioplastic manufacturing. In particular, the company develops specialized falling film and static crystallizers, loop and plug-flow reactors, mixers as well as distillation and devolatilization technologies for plants involved in any stage of sugar-to-PLA processing.