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FEATURES CEO INTERVIEW bioplastic industry, according to PTTGC. Thailand is already one of the top three plastic exporters in Asia and one of the largest resin producers in the world, according to Thailand’s National Innovation Agency (NIA), which is part of the Ministry of Science and Technology. In 2008, NIA was provided fund- ing of Thai baht (Bt) 1.8bn ($58.5m, €42.6m) to pursue bioplastics innovation projects and research and development under the govern- ment’s National Roadmap for the Develop- ment of the Bioplastics Industry. Thailand offers various incentives to create an investment-friendly atmosphere for the bi- oplastics industry. One tax incentive features corporate-income-tax exemption for up to eight years and an additional 50% reduction of corporate income tax for ﬁve years. Both PTTGC and NatureWorks are in dis- cussions with the Thai government concern-PTTGC partners with Myriant on bio-succinic platform ing incentive packages as well as government promotion for the use of bioplastics.Green chems “The government of Thailand has been very supportive in value-added initiatives and tax incentives for the new PLA production site here in Thailand,” Kositpaisal says. “Tax incentive is one thing but the supporting poli-for ThailandThe nation’s strategic goals are driving ﬂagship chemical cies in bioplastic promotion – that will also come into the future.” RENEWABLE CHEMICALS GOALS PTTGC, the chemical ﬂagship of Thailand’s industrial conglomerate PTT Group, has beencompany, PTT Global Chemical, to invest in renewables entrusted with leading the development of a broader biobased chemicals business not just bioplastics, Kositpaisal said.DORIS DE GUZMAN NEW YORK Since 2006, the Thai government has pursued Kositpaisal says that PTTGC’s investment the development of a bioplastic industry be- in Myriant is a strategic entry point not onlyT hrough a series of recent investments, cause of its great potential for consumption of for the Thai company to accelerate the com- Thailand’s largest petrochemical agriculture raw materials, particularly cassava mercialization of biobased products in company, PTT Global Chemical and sugarcane. Thailand has annual produc- Southeast Asia but also to strengthen its (PTTGC), has established itself as a tion of more than 30m short tons of cassava competitive advantage in biobased chemi-global player in bioplastics and renewable and 80m tons of sugarcane. cals manufacture.chemicals while spearheading the country’s “When we look at the bioplastic volume re- Myriant is building its ﬁrst commercial bio-ambitious program to become a regional green quired, the production capacity of the agricul- succinic acid facility in Louisiana, US, fundedtechnology hub. with partial support from the US Department PTTGC announced in October its 50% ac- “Thailand has been very of Energy (DOE) and the Louisiana state gov-quisition of US polylactic acid (PLA) plastic ernment. The plant has a capacity of 30m lbs/producer NatureWorks for $150m (€110m) supportive in value-added year (14,000 tonnes/year) and is scheduled tofrom US agribusiness firm Cargill. Nature- initiatives and tax incentives” start at the end of 2012.Works plans to build a 300m lb/year PLA VEERASAK KOSITPAISAL With Myriant, PTTGC says it is looking toplant in Thailand that is expected to start op- CEO, PTT Global Chemical be able to manufacture a variety of drop-inerating in late 2015. In January, PTTGC in- biobased chemicals such as succinic acid andvested $60m in US-based biosuccinic acid derivatives such as butanediol, lactic acid andproducer Myriant Technologies. tural products needed and the feedstock costs, derivatives, acrylic acid and fumaric acid. A key business plan of PTTGC is to become sugar and cassava are the leading feedstock “We believe in the competitiveness of Myri-a major player in bio-based chemicals, says candidates given their domestic abundancy,” ant’s technology,” Kositpaisal says. “RightCEO Veerasak Kositpaisal. Kositpaisal says. “Today, we export these now, we are sending our people to work at the “Our core business is petrochemicals, but commodity products and we plan to use about Myriant site, including sales, marketing andwe also want to grow within the green chemi- 10–20% of the export volume to convert them researchers, to reﬂect our plan and our com-cals space, as it promises to have a very good into PLA plastic. We have done the evaluation mitment in Myriant.”future, especially in Thailand, where we have and found that the project looks good.” For the latest sustainability initiatives readabundant supply of agricultural feedstock at Plentiful biomass resources translate to sta- Doris de Guzman’s Green Chemicals blogvery competitive prices,” he says. bility and competitive raw materials for the icis.com/blogs/green-chemicals34 | ICIS Chemical Business | November 21-December 4, 2011 www.icis.com