GSA to Design a Bio-Polymer Production Facility on Teesside

Grimley Smith Associates (GSA) a multidiscipline engineering design consultancy based in North Lincolnshire has won a major new contract with Plaxica to design a bio-polymer production facility that Plaxica is planning to build at Wilton International on Teesside. GSA is part of Fabricom GDF SUEZ (UK).

Plaxica is a technology and licensing company focused on the production of next generation biopolymers and platform chemicals from renewable resources such as sugarcane, cereals and cellulose.

The proposed demonstration plant will use energy efficient processes to produce second generation high performance polylactic acid (PLA) based materials.  Nearly all existing polymers – including the high volume materials PET, polystyrene, polypropylene, polyethylene and PVC – are derived from petrochemical feedstocks. Plaxica’s PLA polymers are expected to match or exceed the properties and application of these petrochemical based polymers while offering a lower environmental footprint compared to conventional oil-based plastics and fibres.

The plastics market is worth over $400 billion a year, with biopolymers accounting for over $2 billion of that market. The demand for renewable processes and recyclable products is increasing, growing on average over 10% per annum.

The facility designed by GSA will enable Plaxica to gain important data on the performance of the technology before scaling up the process for full scale operation.

Mike Smith, Operations Director at GSA said; “GSA is delighted to have been awarded such a unique and prestigious project. The growth of second generation biotechnology processes in the UK has been significant in recent years and we are delighted to be associated with such an innovative project.”

Mark Sutton, Chief Operating Officer for Plaxica went onto say: “We are excited to be working with GSA in their capacity as the front end engineering partner for our biopolymer project.  The award of this contract marks an important step for Plaxica as we move our technology through demonstration to commercial implementation and licensing.”