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NEW YORK — Cargill Dow Polymers LLC (CDP), a 50-50 joint-venture between Cargill Inc. and The Dow Chemical Co., has introduced a breakthrough line of resins. NatureWorks™ PLA polymers are made from annually renewable resources, such as corn, and can be used in a range of fiber, textile and nonwoven-fabric applications. The venture company anticipates that the resin products will also find uses in adhesives, paint, coatings and other products.
The NatureWorks PLA polymers are produced by a proprietary process using natural plant sugar to create a polylactide polymer. Cargill Dow Polymers says the polymers are expected to find use in a number of emerging applications over the next few years, including emulsions, chemical intermediates, packaging and foams. Initially, the process will use sugars derived from corn as the basis for production of the polymers. Eventually, other sources will be used, including wheat, sugar beets and agricultural waste, the company says.
As water-based emulsions, the company says the polymers offer potential for a range of uses, including applications in adhesives, nonwoven fabrics, paint, paper coatings and pigments, and binders for building products. The company also says the polymers are expected to provide the basis for the development of a range of derivatives that will compete with conventional materials on a cost and performance basis. Those anticipated derivatives will include hot melt adhesives, solvents, coatings, surfactants, plasticizers and acrylic esters.
To meet anticipated global demand for NatureWorks PLA, CDP will be bringing a new plant on-stream in late 2001 with an annual capacity of 140,000 metric tons. Located in Blair, Neb., the plant will service global demand until capacity is added in Europe and Asia.
For more information about NatureWorks PLA from Cargill Dow Polymers, visit www.cdpoly.com, or call 877-423-7659.