LG Chem and ADM Announce Joint Ventures for U.S. Lactic Acid and Polylactic Acid Production

Published on: 16 August 2022
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LG Chem, a leading global diversified chemical company, and ADM, a global leader in nutrition and biosolutions, announced today the formation of two joint ventures for the production of lactic acid (LA) and polylactic acid (PLA) in the United States to meet the growing demand for a wide range of plant-based products, including bioplastics.

To meet the growing need for plant-based products and bioplastics, the two companies will form two joint ventures. The raw materials for the annual manufacturing of 150,000 tonnes of high-purity corn-based lactic acid will be handled by the LA production firm 'GreenWise Lactic.'

The second joint venture, 'LG Chem Illinois Biochem,' will use lactic acid from GreenWise Lactic to make 75,000 tonnes of bioplastics per year. LG Chem Illinois Biochem can generate around 2.5 billion 500ml eco-friendly water bottles using bioplastics from the facility. 

The production plant will be built in Decatur, Illinois, USA, and is expected to be completed in late 2025 or early 2026. Construction is set to begin in 2023, once the boards of both corporations have made their final decisions.

LG Chem is the first Korean business to establish an integrated PLA facility. LG Chem will be able to produce pure lactic acid for commercial-scale PLA manufacture and develop high-value bio-materials with these JVs.

The biodegradable PLA plastic, which is commonly used in food containers, straws, water bottles, tableware, and tea bags, is created from lactic acid, which is a byproduct of the fermentation of corn. When specific conditions are fulfilled, microbes naturally break down PLA within a few months. 

Additionally, compared to regular plastics, it emits only 25% of greenhouse gases during production, earning it recognition as a durable, environmentally friendly material. By 2026, there will be a projected increase in global demand for bioplastics of 22.7% per year, from USD 10.7 billion in 2021 to USD 29.7 billion.

ADM CEO Juan R. Luciano stated: 

“Sustainability is one of the enduring global trends that is powering ADM’s strategy and growth.

“We’re pleased to expand our collaboration with LG Chem, and we’re planning to take the next growth step, greatly expanding our ability to meet the growing demand for plant-based solutions.”

LG Chem Chief Executive Officer Hak Cheol Shin commented: 

“The establishment of this joint venture is a sustainable growth strategy that can directly contribute to solving environmental issues such as climate change and waste plastics.

“Based on eco-friendly materials, which is an axis for new growth engines, we will respond to the rapidly changing market and customers, while becoming a market leader.” 

Source: LG Chem

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