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SKC to build bioplastics plant in Vietnam

Sept. 25, 2023 - 14:01 By Song Jung-hyun

SKC President &CEO Park Won-cheol (center, fourth from left) and Le Tien Chau, Secretary of the Party Committee of Hai Phong city (center, fourth from right) pose for a photo as part of IRC handover ceremony in Hai Phong, Vietnam, Friday. (SKC)

South Korea's advanced materials maker SKC said Monday that it had decided on a location in Vietnam’s northeastern city of Hai Phong to establish a manufacturing plant for biodegradable plastics, as it pushes to expand its eco-friendly business.

Amid mounting global calls to reduce plastic waste, the international market size for bioplastics is expected to grow at an annual rate of over 20 percent.

SKC and its joint venture Ecovance officials and top executives visited Vietnam on Friday to attend a ceremony marking the launch of the investment plan, during which they received an investment registration certificate from the Vietnamese government, the legal document needed for overseas companies to invest in the country.

The factory, set to be operational in 2025, aims to generate an annual output of 70,000 tons, the largest scale in the world, of polybutylene adipate terephthalate or PBAT, a biodegradable co-polymer.

High-strength PBAT has been independently developed by Ecovance by using cellulose extracted from trees. It boasts enhanced durability compared to conventional PBAT, facilitating commercialization and its extensive use in general-purpose plastics, from industrial films and food containers to diapers and masks.

Additionally, SKC will be building a separate facility at the same site to produce an annual 36,000 tons of a biodegradable material named Limex .

Limex is made by mixing limestone with plastic resins, such as polyethylene and polypropylene, to reduce the use of plastics in the manufacturing process. SKC seeks to commercialize biodegradable Limex made of its high-strength biodegradable PBAT which decomposes more quickly in nature.

“Going forward, we will leverage our technical expertise in high-strenth PBAT, and biodegradable Limex technology to diversify our eco-friendly business portfolio and actively pursue our foray in the field of renewable sources,” an official from SKC stated in a released statement.

Hai Phong is Vietnam's top port city and a key industrial hub with a highly developed logistics infrastructure.