THAILAND – PTT Group and Mitsubishi Chemical Corp (MCC) have announced plans to invest US$234.1 million (THB7 billion) to build the first sugar-based bioplastic manufacturing facility in Thailand.
To be managed by the companies’ 50:50 joint venture PTT MCC Biochem Co Ltd, the plant will have an annual production capacity of 36,000 tonnes of bio-succinate (BSA) and 20,000 tonnes of polybutylene succinate (PBS) plastic pellet. An estimated 54,000 tonnes of raw sugar will be needed for production each year.
Construction of the facility - located in Asia Industrial Estate in Rayong - is set to start in 2012, with commercial operations slated for late 2014.
For both companies, this investment marks the beginning of plans to turn Thailand into the “bio-hub” of Asia.
"This will be the first PBS bioplastic plant in the world, as all PBS manufacturing is petroleum-based. The comprehensive project will help reduce imports and push forward Thailand's plastic industry," explained PTT President and CEO Prasert Bunsumpun.
"Demand for biodegradable plastic is getting higher each year, with a growth rate of 30% a year, although the development of this plastic in the global market is just in its first stage. This investment will be instrumental in turning Thailand into the bio-hub in Asia.”
According to Bunsumpun, the two partners are now discussing budget allocation for research and development for a range of applications, including shopping bags, food and beverage containers and automotive parts.
"This will be the platform of PTT's ambitious plan to develop other kinds of bioplastic products," he said.
This is not the first time both companies are working together. In December 2010, PTT and MCC worked with the local administration of Koh Samet to develop a pilot project using biodegradable plastic containing organic waste from 100 resorts and hotels on the island, and to produce organic fertiliser.
The partners’ joint venture company PTT MCC Biochem Co Ltd was formed in April 2011 with US$12.04 million (BHT360 million) in registered capital.