Under the terms of the agreement, the two companies will work toward founding joint venture in early 2022 that would build, own and operate a US-based facility to produce high-purity corn-based lactic acid on a commercial scale. In addition, the companies will collaborate on a second joint venture that would use lactic acid produced by the first joint venture to produce and commercialize PLA, a plant-based, biodegradable plastic that can be used in a wide array of products, from food packaging to clothing to upholstery.
“Consumers today are increasingly prioritizing environmentally-friendly, responsibly-produced products when they make buying decisions,” says ADM Chairman and CEO Juan Luciano in a press statement. “ADM is meeting that demand for both nutrition and biomaterials customers alike… Today’s agreement is yet another way in which we’re delivering on growth opportunities in plant-based solutions.”
In addition to its use in the production of PLA, the lactic acid would be sold for use in a wide variety of food and pharmaceutical applications. The two companies also agreed to jointly develop technology for other biomaterials that can be applied in the biochemical and sustainability sector in the future.
The two companies have already been working together since 2019 on developing biobased acrylic acid for use in superabsorbent polymers.