U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Advanced Manufacturing Office
OIT Times: Inaugural Bio-Based Polymer Facility Opens
June 21, 2001
Cargill Dow LLC will start up the world first large scale Polylactic Acid (PLA) manufacturing plant in Blair, NE later this year. PLA is a new biodegradable plastic that derived from corn and replaces nonrenewable fossil raw materials. This culminates years of R&D by Cargill and others whose efforts were supported by the Agriculture Team, as well as other parts of DOE and other Federal agencies. The PLA market could eventually exceed 8 billion lb/yearaving 190 trillion Btu of energy. LA represents one of the single largest impacts we have in the Agriculture Team on energy savings,said Team Leader Mark Paster (202-586-2821).
Succinic acid is another plant-based raw material that could compete with fossil fuel-derived feedstocks used to manufacture paints, plastics and other products. High production cost has kept succinic acid from being widely used. ut wee had incremental successes in this area for several years and two recent R&D projects have forwarded technology to the point where succinic acid is financially attractive,said Paster. He expects commercial-scale production of lower cost succinic acid to soon begin.
A lean Fractionationproject co-supported by OIT
Agriculture and Chemical Teams is being scaled up to pilot stage. The technology
enables manufacture of high purity cellulose using significantly less energy
than incumbent processes. Projected potential energy savings are 13 trillion
Btu/year by 2020.