Polymers and materials
Polylactic acid (PLA)
Polylactic acid (PLA) is a compostable thermoplastic polyester derived from renewable resources, such as corn starch. Large scale production is done mostly in the United States. There is also an international research effort underway to produce PLA from second generation (non-food) sugars.
Senbis Polymer Innovations produces multifilament yarn from PLA, with applications as horticultural twine used in greenhouses, e.g. to bind tomato plants to their supports. A major advantage of using PLA over the traditional polypropylene twine is that after harvesting, when the plant material is composted, there is no need to remove the PLA as it is compostable. Other applications are in fishing nets and trimmer lines.
NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences has a research program aimed at producing compound PLA materials, e.g. by combining this polymer with wood and natural fibres to create thermoplastic composites.
Senbis Polymer Innovations specializes in the development of applications from compostable biopolymers. NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences is involved in research and development of new PLA applications.