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NatureWorks + BioAmber = AmberWorks

Two leading bio-based materials makers are joining forces. NatureWorks, which is owned by Cargill and makes polylactic acid (PLA) plastic from corn sugar, has formed a joint venture with BioAmber, a bio-based chemicals company focused on making succinic acid from sugar.

PLA (pictured) joins PBS in a bioplastic venture. Credit: NatureWorks

The venture plans to blend PLA with polybutylene succinate (PBS) into a compound that would be suitable for food service ware applications that are made from thermoforming and injection molding.

Yet at this point, BioAmber – which filed for an IPO in November – has not completed a commercial-scale production plant for bio-succinic acid. For now, Bioamber’s succinic acid is produced from wheat-derived glucose at a demonstration-scale facility in Pomacle, France.

BioAmber has controlled intellectual property for making PBS from renewable sources for a while now. In 2010 DNP Green Technology – which is now BioAmber – bought a Philadelphia company called Sinoven Biopolymers that developed a modified PBS that can use renewable ingredients.

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