NatureWorks, the world's leading manufacturer of low-carbon polylactic acid (PLA) biopolymers made from renewable resources, hosted a cornerstone laying ceremony to celebrate construction of their new Ingeo™ PLA manufacturing complex in Thailand. The ceremony which took place on February 1, 2023 commemorated the progress made to date on the new fully integrated biopolymer facility. The day also featured a ceremonial groundbreaking that mirrored the ceremony held in Blair, Nebraska, USA in 2000 when NatureWorks began construction on the world’s first commercial scale PLA manufacturing facility.
The new manufacturing facility located on the Nakhon Sawan Biocomplex (NBC) in Nakhon Sawan Province, Thailand is designed to be fully integrated including production sites for lactic acid, lactide, and polymer. With completion expected in the second half of 2024, the manufacturing site will have an annual capacity of 75,000 tonnes and will produce the full portfolio of Ingeo biopolymer grades.
“This ceremony is a meaningful milestone for the entire NatureWorks team,” said Rich Altice, president and CEO of NatureWorks. “For the last three decades, we have not only been building a company and manufacturing facilities, but also a whole new industry and market for low-carbon, renewable biomaterials that are revolutionizing the sustainability and safety of packaging and product materials used in our everyday lives.”
From left to right: Bill Suehr, Chief Operating Officer, NatureWorks; Carmen Volkart, Chief Financial Officer, NatureWorks; Khun Chayan Sirimas, Governor, Nakhon Sawan; Dr. Nattapol Rangsitpol, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Industry; Rich Altice, President and CEO, NatureWorks; Colleen May, President, Cargill Bioindustrial Group & NatureWorks Board of Directors; Khun Narongsak Jivakanun, Chief Operating Officer, GC & Chairman of the NatureWorks Board of Directors.
Site preparation for the new biopolymer complex was completed in June 2022, and early-works construction for piling, underground piping, storm water management, and tank foundations began. In November 2022, NatureWorks announced the selection of the TTCL Public Company Limited (SET: TTCL) as the general contractor for the project.
The expanded global production of Ingeo biopolymer will support growth in markets including 3D printing and hygiene as well as compostable coffee capsules, tea bags, flexible packaging, and food serviceware that demand sustainable, low-carbon biomaterials and require the high-performance attributes that Ingeo is uniquely suited to deliver.