CJ Bio tackles plastic waste with new 5k metric ton PHA facility

The company will offer marine and home compostable options for a broad range of plastics applications

CJ Bio
CJ Bio inaugurates 5,000 metric ton Polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) facility in Pasuruan, Indonesia. Photo CJ Bio

CJ Bio, a division of South Korea-based CJ CheilJedang, announced that it has begun manufacturing polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) at a newly commissioned facility located in Pasuruan, Indonesia. CJ Bio, the global leader in fermentation capacity with world-scale businesses in both animal and human nutrition, is using this new facility to enter the biomaterials sector with the goal of creating opportunities to reduce the impact of manufactured plastics on global waste streams and the environment. The rated capacity of the new facility is 5,000 metric tons and will focus exclusively on manufacturing ‘amorphous’ PHAs (a-PHAs). Amorphous PHA is a softer, more rubbery (low glass transition temperature (Tg) version of PHA that offers fundamentally different performance opportunities than crystalline or semi-crystalline forms of PHA. This material will see immediate use as a modifier to other polymers and biopolymers to improve functional characteristics and biodegradability, enabling ‘cradle-to-grave’ solutions for the broad range of markets that generate plastic waste. The technology also has the potential to develop building blocks for other performance materials made from non-fossil fuel sources. CJ Bio shipped its first material from the facility in April of this year.

According to Seung Jin Lee, head of the Biomaterials business, one of the objectives of the new business is to build a world-class biomaterials platform based on PHA technology, capable of addressing what amounts to a global crisis in plastics pollution. “Plastics are an essential material, improving people’s lives everywhere – but the impact of so much of this material on our environment has become unsustainable moving forward. Increased bio-content and improved biodegradability have been improvements, but the issue of full biodegradability – particularly in marine and home environments – has yet to be addressed. We believe that PHAs – with the right properties and manufactured at scale – will allow us to address this issue globally,” Lee said. “At CJ Bio, we have world-scale fermentation capacity and a broad and flexible PHA technology portfolio to help everyone from plastics manufacturers to consumer products companies develop better solutions,” he added.

PrintPack Show Daily

Polyesters produced in nature

Polyhydroxyalkanoates are linear polyesters produced in nature through bacterial fermentation of sugars or lipids. They occur naturally in living cells from a 5-10% rate, which gives PHAs their excellent biodegradability. CJ Bio can increase PHA content up to 85% through bacterial strain and proprietary fermentation technology. The company employs advanced downstream technology for the extraction of PHA components and for the manufacture of specific products. CJ Bio’s broad technology platform, which is covered by an extensive patent portfolio, can target specific monomer ratios and can produce crystalline, semi-crystalline and amorphous polymer structures. The new Pasuruan facility will focus solely on amorphous PHAs. In one of its most important applications, amorphous PHA complements the bio-content and biodegradability profile of polymers while at the same time improving functional and processing properties. It represents a solid opportunity to improve the performance of the biopolymer polylactic acid (PLA) by delivering significant improvements to this material’s mechanical properties, including increased toughness, better strength, and ductility. Also, amorphous PHA maintains the bio-content of PLA and can potentially improve its biodegradability profile.

The Market Leader in Amorphous PHAs

According to Max Senechal, chief ccommercial officer of the Biomaterials business, the startup of this new PHA manufacturing facility in Pasuruan is the culmination of decades of work that started at the company Metabolix in the early 2000s and which CJ Bio has been improving since it acquired Metabolix biopolymer assets in 2016. “CJ Bio has been working toward bio-based chemicals and biopolymers as part of a long-term vision to expand into technologies that can help create a more sustainable future. This new facility represents a major step for CJ Bio along a journey that will see significantly more investment in this technology in the near future. Today, we are the only company with the potential to produce amorphous PHA at scale, with the unique properties required to support the rapid growth of the bioplastics industry. Market response to our technology offering and our new PHA products has been significant. We’re excited and proud of the hundreds of people who have helped make this happen,” Senechal said.

The impact, resilience, and growth of responsible packaging in a wide region are daily chronicled by Packaging South Asia.

A multi-channel B2B publication and digital platform such as Packaging South Asia.is always aware of the prospect of new beginnings and renewal. Its 16-year-old print monthly, based in New Delhi, India has demonstrated its commitment to progress and growth. The Indian and Asian packaging industries have shown resilience in the face of ongoing challenges over the past three years.

As we present our publishing plan for 2023, India’s real GDP growth for the financial year ending 31 March 2023 will reach 6.3%. Packaging industry growth has exceeded GDP growth even when allowing for inflation in the past three years.

The capacity for flexible film manufacturing in India increased by 33% over the past three years. With orders in place, we expect another 33% capacity addition from 2023 to 2025. Capacities in monocartons, corrugation, aseptic liquid packaging, and labels have grown similarly. The numbers are positive for most of the economies in the region – our platform increasingly reaches and influences these.

Even given the disruptions of supply chains, raw material prices, and the challenge of responsible and sustainable packaging, packaging in all its creative forms and purposes has significant headroom to grow in India and Asia. Our context and coverage engulf the entire packaging supply chain – from concept to shelf and further – to waste collection and recycling. We target brand owners, product managers, raw material suppliers, packaging designers and converters, and recyclers.

In an admittedly fragmented and textured terrain, this is the right time to plan your participation and marketing support communication – in our impactful and highly targeted business platform. Tell us what you need. Speak and write to our editorial and advertising teams! For advertisement ads1@ippgroup.in , for editorial info@ippgroup.in and for subscriptions subscription@ippgroup.in

– Naresh Khanna

Subscribe Now


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here