The Thailand Board of Investment (BOI) at the end of last month approved NatureWorks Asia Pacific Co.,Ltd.’s application to invest more than 15 billion baht (around USD490 million) in a project to produce Polylactic Acid (PLA), a low-carbon-footprint polymer derived from agricultural feed stocks, reflecting Thailand’s attraction to foreign investors as a bioplastics production base.
NatureWorks’ plant will produce approximately 75,000 tons of PLA per year, the BOI said. The PLA resin is used to make biodegradable goods ranging from compostable food containers, to filament for 3D printing, hygiene masks, and household appliances.
“This project demonstrates once again Thailand’s leadership in the ASEAN region when it comes to the bioplastics value chain,” said Ms. Duangjai Asawachintachit, Secretary General of the BOI. “Our strong agricultural base offers the required raw materials, while our logistics networks and strategic location enable companies to realize the full potential of their investment.”
The plant will be located at the Nakhon Sawan Biocomplex, a project established in line with the country’s BCG concept (for Bio-Circular-Green economic activities), some 200 kilometers north of Bangkok. NatureWorks Asia Pacific is a wholly owned subsidiary of US-based NatureWorks LLC, a leading global producer of PLA. The company’s PLA is marketed under the Ingeo trademark.
From 2015 to March of this year, the BOI has approved a total of 21 projects in the bioplastic value chain, from upstream to downstream, with a combined investment value of over 31 billion baht. Most of these projects have already entered production.