Production of PLA for Bioplastic
Lactic acid is currently produced from sugar-rich and starch-rich biomass, such as sugar cane, maize and tapioca. For a sustainable production process on a scale that meets future demands for bioplastics like PLA, however, the use of non-food biomass such as lignocellulose is crucial. Compared to biomass that is rich in sugar and starch, lignocellulose is a complex source of sugars, and several steps (like a pretreatment) are required to isolate the sugar and make it suitable for fermentation into lactic acid. Several companies are working on this process within the BE-Basic research programme.