In an article published on August 17, 2015 by the news provider Food Production Daily, journalist Jenny Eagle reports on a new technology to produce bio-based plastic polylactic acid (PLA) that was developed by scientists from the Center for Surface Chemistry and Catalysis at the Katholieke Universiteit (KU) Leuven, the Netherlands. The KU Leuven researchers deploy a zeolite catalyst in the reactor to “speed up and guide” the PLA production process, Eagle writes. In this manner, they can skip an intermediary production step and produce more PLA with less waste, making PLA production cheaper as compared to the traditional technique. The researchers are confident that their technology will soon be applied on an industrial scale, Eagle further notes. Bioplastic PLA is made from renewable resources, including maize and sugarcane. It is used e.g. in biodegradable drinking cups and vegetable wrapping foil.
Jenny Eagle (August 17, 2015). “Scientists design technology to make PLA production process simpler.” Food Production Daily