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Novamont expands capacity with revamped bioplastic plant

Italian bioplastics company Novamont SpA has opened its revamped biopolyesters plant located to the south of Rome, boosting total production capacity at the site from 120 kilotonnes per annum (ktpa) to 150ktpa.

The Patrica plant, operated by Novamont subsidiary Mater–Biopolymer, produces 100ktpa of Origo–BI biopolyesters, which contain a high level of renewables, and are used as components of Mater-BI compostable bioplastics.

The overall investment amount, said Novamont 19 Oct, stood at €70m. The company has further plans to invest another €30m on the site within the next three years.

In addition to Origo-BI, Novamont said it had also “perfected” a process for wastewater purification which will enable the production of  renewably-sourced tetrahydrofuran (THF), a chemical intermediate used by the pharmaceutical industry to produce antidepressants and hormone drugs.

The company did not give further details on the process, but said it would be the first “industrially-produced” bio-THF.

With the reconversion of the production line and the THF recovery process, Novamont says it will reduce 246ktpa of CO2 emissions. Additionally, the company expects to reduce its wheeled transport by nearly 1.3 million kilometres, as it will not be disposing THF-containing wastes onsite. 

Novamont acquired a majority stake in the Patrica plant from Italian polymer group Mossi Ghisolfi in 2014 and took over 100% of its shares later in 2017. Since the acquisition, the former PET production unit has undergone a number of major modification processes and technology upgrades by Novamont.

The Italian bioplastics company recently announced a contract with the UK's Co-op retailer to supply bio-based and compostable carrier bags for shoppers at its stores.

The added capacity at the Patrica site is expected to help meet the demand from contracts for compostable plastic bags to retailers throughout Europe, including in France, Italy, Finland and Belgium. 

» Publication Date: 23/10/2018

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research, technological development and demonstration (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement n° [606350].

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