CHICAGO & SEOUL – South Korean diversified chemical company LG Chem is teaming up with ADM to explore the US-based production of lactic acid to meet growing demand for a wide variety of plant-based products, including bioplastics.
The two companies are taking steps towards launching a joint venture in early 2022 to build and operate a US-based facility to produce high-purity corn-based lactic acid on a commercial scale.
In addition, the companies will collaborate on a second joint venture that will use the lactic acid to produce and commercialise polylactic acid (PLA).
“Consumers today are increasingly prioritising environmentally-friendly, responsibly-produced products when they make buying decisions,” said Juan Luciano CEO at Chicago-headquartered ADM. “For non-nutrition customers, our BioSolutions growth platform is using our product streams to grow our presence in sustainable, higher-margin demand areas as wide ranging as pharmaceuticals and personal care, textiles, paper products, and even adhesives for helicopters. Today’s agreement is yet another way in which we’re delivering on growth opportunities in plant-based solutions. We’re excited to work with a global leader like LG Chem to expand US production of lactic acid and continue to expand our capabilities to meet growing demand for responsibly-produced products.”
“The establishment of a joint venture with ADM would be the beginning of a new journey, formalizing our cooperation and advancing us toward a sustainable business structure for the benefit of the environment and society,” added Hak Cheol Shin. “Once the joint venture is established, LG Chem would receive a stable supply of raw materials needed to enter the bioplastics market in earnest. As a part of our sustainable business strategy, LG Chem plans to accelerate the commercialisation of biodegradable resins that can contribute to solving environmental problems such as climate change and waste plastics. As a leading company in sustainability, LG Chem will actively seek new ways to contribute to carbon-neutral growth.”
In 2019, the companies signed a joint development agreement (JDA) to secure mass production technology to create biobased acrylic acid, which can be used for the manufacture of superabsorbent polymers used in diapers and other hygiene products.