New facilityto make corn-based plastics

by Emily Wilson
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NEW YORK — Cargill Dow Polymers, L.L.C., a joint venture between Cargill, Inc. and The Dow Chemical Co., recently announced plans to build a facility in the United States that will use corn-derived dextrose to produce polylactide (PLA) polymers.

The U.S.$300-million facility will be located in Blair, Nebraska, next to Cargill's corn wet milling plant. According to Cargill, C.D.P. is the first company to offer a family of polymers derived entirely from annually renewable resources that can compete with hydrocarbon-based fibers on a cost and performance basis. Proprietary technology processes natural plant sugars from corn and other sources into PLAs, which will be used in clothes, cups, packaging and other everyday products.

The facility, to be completed in late 2001, will use 40,000 bushels of corn per day to produce an annual capacity of 140,000 tonnes of PLA polymers.