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PLA: the largest industrialization advantage
Source: | Author:xinxinghuanbao | Published time: 2018-05-24 | 1697 Views | Share:
It has been 30 years since the development of biodegradation technology, but the production and application of biodegradable materials still accounts for a low proportion of the total amount of plastic. Polylactic acid (PLA) as the most mature industrialization today, yield the largest and the most widely used, the lowest price the biological basis of plastic, the most hope is the future shake the status of petroleum base plastic traditional degradable materials, will become the main force of bio-based plastics. At present, PLA plastic bags, tableware, golf ball screws and other products have been circulated in the market, entering thousands of households.

Unique industrial advantages

According to changchun institute of applied chemistry of Chinese academy of sciences researcher xue-si Chen, PLA material has many advantages, in the biological base material is the most is expected to form a class of large-scale commercial production material in the near future. As the only transparent biomaterial, PLA can replace traditional plastics in many fields with good performance, compost or landfill after waste, and biodegrade 100% into CO2 and water.

Lactic acid has the best strategic position in the metabolic pathway, says Dr Donnie yen, prak's general manager for greater China. The theoretical yield of lactic acid produced by microorganisms can reach 100%, so polylactic acid has obvious cost advantage over other biological materials. It is understood that the PLA currently sells for about 20,000 yuan per ton, more than half the price of other bioplastics such as Ecoflex and PHA, basf's fat-aromatic copolyesters.

According to zhen, there will be several thousand ton polylactic acid plants running in China and abroad in 2010, and the industrialization of PLA will be accelerated. It is understood that in addition to the 140,000 ton annual commercial PLA produced by NatureWorks, a number of companies, including imperial, mitsui, Synbra and Futerro, have built or are in the process of producing pilot units of 1000t annual production. In China, zhejiang haizheng annual production of 5,000 tons of polylactic acid pilot plant has been operating, and is planning to build a 10,000-ton device. In addition, yisheng guanghua, nantong jiuding, changjiang chemical fiber and other companies have entered the PLA pilot production stage. According to Mr Zhen's estimates, the global PLA market could reach tens of millions of tonnes by 2020, and China could reach 3-5m tonnes. The PLA will continue to maintain a leading scale in biomaterials.

Comprehensive promotion needs technology first

According to Chen, China's PLA industry has resource advantages. Under the participation of many enterprises, the current industrialization of PLA is progressing, but PLA price is still higher than petroleum-based plastics, to vigorously promote the PLA, must reduce prices, to improve the competitiveness of the PLA products. Zhen guangming pointed out that the PLA has poor thermal resistance, low impact resistance and low gas resistance, which restrict its promotion and application. Currently, it is mainly used in low-end food packaging.

To improve product performance, it is necessary to strengthen mechanical properties, plasticity, modification and toughness, Chen said. At present, our country in bulk polymerization, the preparation and purification of lactide cracking process and equipment level has greatly improved, innovation, technical level has surpassed Japan, Germany, after the United States. Changchun should change in PLA polymer research, has developed with independent intellectual property rights of crystallization nucleating agent, can speed up the crystallization, effectively improve the thermal performance of the product, make its limit of heat-resistant up to 100 ℃. On the PLA application, at present the main research focus is through the resin blend modification improved its mechanical properties, and other materials blending to improve its heat resistance, toughness, blown film, such as performance, such as joining poly butyl diacid butyl glycol ester (PBS), Ecoflex, cellulose, lignin, montmorillonite, talcum powder, hydroxyapatite, etc. Polylactic acid can also be copolymerized with polyethylene glycol, which can be used as a sustained release carrier for drugs and as a tissue engineering scaffold for cell culture.

In terms of reducing production costs, Mr. Chen pointed out that higher yields, lower energy consumption and higher production are key factors to reduce costs. On the one hand, to improve the purity of PLA and relative molecular mass, selection and optimization of catalyst, such as changchun should change developed with independent intellectual property rights by the non-toxic benzoic acid catalyst stannous, showing good reactivity and stability; On the other hand, it is necessary to improve the PLA production scale, develop the production potential of existing equipment, control the production cost, improve the process and reduce energy consumption.

Extend the application range

Zhen guangming believes that while paying attention to the basic research of PLA, it is necessary to strengthen the commercial promotion of PLA and expand the application scope of PLA. Our country should focus on strengthening the modification and application of PLA industry chain downstream, certification, marketing and research for the protection of intellectual property rights, development of blending modification technology, improved processing technology, set up production and marketing chain, to enter the high value-added electronic products packaging, open with high quality products are exported to foreign markets.

According to the development of the PLA industry at home and abroad, the PLA's market demand has surged with the decrease of production costs and the improvement of performance, Chen told reporters. Under the effect of market orientation, the PLA gradually expand the application range, application fields have already infiltrated the food packaging, medical materials, general plastics, synthetic fiber, and other fields, and have a growing trend. PLA future research areas are mainly concentrated in improve production rate and reduce the cost of L - lactic acid fermentation, improve the efficiency of production of lactic acid polymer, many varieties and applied research of PLA, with non-staple crops such as cassava and agricultural waste production of lactic acid to the preparation of PLA, etc.

Xue-si Chen said, at present Europe and the United States in many countries for the use of biodegradable plastic has been clearly defined, and the domestic use environmental protection material legislation is relatively lag, PLA industry lack the necessary guidance. He suggested that countries on the corresponding laws and regulations and support of bio-based materials production enterprises, to strengthen the popularization and application in the field of automobile, home appliances, etc, create conditions for PLA material fully into the market.