BASF announces bioplastics production expansion
BASF SE has announced plans for a significant expansion
of its production plant for the biodegradable plastic Ecoflex® at the
company’s Ludwigshafen site in Germany. The move will raise Ecoflex production
capacities from the current 14,000 by 60,000 metric tons per year. Production
at the expanded plant will commence in the third quarter of 2010.
Ecoflex is a petrochemicals-based plastic which has the properties of
conventional polyethylene but is fully biodegradable in accordance with
DIN EN 13432 requirements.
BASF also plans to increase production capacity of the compounding facility
in Ludwigshafen where the newly developed product Ecovio® is manufactured.
Ecovio, a derivative of Ecoflex, contains 45 percent by weight of the
renewable raw material polylactic acid (PLA). The PLA content means Ecovio
is not only biodegradable but also largely biobased. Polylactic acid
is a material obtained from corn (maize).
The global market for biodegradable and biobased plastics is growing
at more than 20 percent per year. “Ecoflex, our successful biodegradable
polyester, and the innovation Ecovio are already giving us significant
participation in this growing market. The new production capacities will
substantially strengthen and consolidate our position,” said Dr. Michael
Stumpp, head of BASF’s Specialty Polymers global business unit.