Four Finnish companies have collaborated to develop a project that will produce compostable bioplastic from soy waste.
A biopolymer plant will be built in Uusikaupunki, Finland, in which bioplastic production will be piloted on an industrial scale. The material being used, soy molasses, is not suitable for food and has previously been disposed of via incineration.
Finnfoam, Brightplus, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, and Nordic Soya have explored together the possibilities of soy molasses, a soy processing side stream, as a raw material of the future. The research project, partly funded by Business Finland, took four years.
"The process developed as an outcome of this cooperation project is the first in the world to produce an ecological lactic acid polymer from the side streams of soy production. This way we can offer a sustainable alternative to sugar and corn-based polylactic acid, i.e. PLA,” says Henri Nieminen, CEO of Finnfoam.
In the future, the partnership hopes that the project can be extended to new markets where soybean is processed for food and feed production. The companies say that bioplastic produced from the residues of soy processing has “huge potential” as a scalable export product in the circular economy. Globally, they estimate that residues from soy production could produce around 22 million tonnes of bioplastic per year.
"Finland has a huge potential to become a pioneer in biomaterials, but this requires resources for testing the scalability of the production process. We want to build concrete resources for the national ecosystem in the industry, and we are looking for partners who are interested in building the production of Finnish biomaterials and commercialising it for the global markets,” continues Nieminen.
"It is a major technological step forward that side streams that are unusable in food production can now be used to produce responsible high value bio-based products," adds Jarkko Leivo, technology director of Brightplus Oy.
“Depending on the application, we can modify the properties of the biomaterial, such as its transparency and thermoformability, or improve its chemical resistance and reusability. We are now looking for pioneer-minded partners interested in this great technology with whom we can develop more innovative applications for this biopolymer.”
OKCHEM PLA, PBAT and PBS Distribution Project
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1. About our distribution project and our partners
OKCHEM Chemicals Distribution Product List and FAQ
PLA, PBAT and PBS included in OKCHEM Distribution Project
FAQs for biodegradable plastic materials
Xinjiang Blue Ridge Tunhe is leading globally in the production of degradable materials
Anhui BBCA Kicked off the 2nd Phase Production for its 300 kt/a PLA Project
2. About product background introductions
What Does Biodegradable Mean?
Bioplastics, Biodegradation and Bio-based plastics
Comparison of biodegradable materials PLA, PBAT, PHA and PBS
Is PLA biodegradable unconditionally?
Biodegradable plastics — Polylactic acid (PLA)
What’s the Difference: Biodegradable and Compostable?
Harmonised standards for bioplastics products in EU
Certificates: reliable proof of biodegradability by independent institutes
PLA or PBAT, which will be more popular in the future market?
3. About market analysis and new development
PBAT raw materials: BDO under insufficient capacity and price increase by 50%; PTA and AA with overcapacity
Anhui Ruihong New Material Kicked off the construction of project with 25 kt/a of PVA, PLA, PBAT and PBS
China’s Kanghui Petrochemical kicked off its production of 33 kt/a PBAT/PBS on December 25
China's Hengli Petrochemical Officially Signed Production Project of 600 kt/a PBS on Jan 19, 2021
China’s Hengli Petrochemical adds another 300kt/a PBS on Feb 1, 2021, expecting a total capacity of 933kt/a PBS
New development in PLA: Durable new PLA cup can hold boiling liquids around 140 °F (60 °C)
ECP recently introduced as promising biobased compatibilizing agent for PLA/PBAT blends
Brief Highlights of PBAT and Its production in China
The state of the bioplastics market updated by European Bioplastics (EUBP)
Biodegradable product tradeshows: 2021 China International Biodegradation & Plastic Products Exhibition
Analysis of Chinese export on PBAT and PBS from 201901 to 202011
Production capacity of PLA in China expected to reach 3.3 million tons in the coming 5 years