Bioplastic, Company initiatives, Press Release, Processing, R&D

Plaxica gets patents for its Optipure® Technology

I’m off for a day to attend the Geekiest place on Earth in the next four days, the New York Comic Con! Too bad I can’t use my press pass here but maybe I’ll introduce them to the magic and wonders of renewable/green chemistry. In the meantime, let me post this brief news from Plaxica.

UK-based Plaxica, a technology licensing company founded in 2008 as a spin-off from Imperial College, London, has an interesting low-cost lactic acid process technology that I’ve reported in Tecnon OrbiChem’s Bio-Materials newsletter.

The company recently announced that it received US Patents, 9,045,781, 9,045,782 and 9,045,783, which cover key aspects of its Optipure® technology, a reportedly robust, scalable chemical process which separates racemic lactic acid into pure L & D isomer streams that are suitable for processing into high performance polylactic acid (PLA).

Racemic lactic acid contains a mixture of both the L-type isomer and D-type isomer of lactic acid. Lactic acid produced by fermentation typically only contains L-type isomers.  Plaxica’s Versalac process can convert biomass feedstock into racemic lactic acid via a closed loop chemical process, instead of biological fermentation route. Racemic lactic acid can also be a building block for several commodity and specialty chemicals.

The company currently has a pilot facility on Teesside, UK, where the Optipure® technology has been proven at demonstration scale on a continuous closed loop basis. Plaxica also recently formed an agreement with INVISTA’s technology and licensing business – INVISTA Performance Technologies (IPT) – where INVISTA will provide Plaxica engineering, technical and commercial support from its global technology licensing organization. The two companies will develop and commercialize Plaxica’s lactic acid technology, and INVISTA will also have an option for an equity stake in Plaxica.

Plaxica’s lactic acid technology will soon be available from INVISTA.

Plaxica’s Pilot Plant in Teesside, UK


About Doris de Guzman

Will Green Chemistry save the world or is it hype? Doris de Guzman examines alternative processing, new technology, R&D and other sustainability initiatives aimed at preventing pollution; replacing ingredients; and using renewable feedstocks in Green Chemistry. She has been covering the oleochemicals market for 15 years and spread her beat to inorganics, biofuels and green chemistry.


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