PLA: becoming a market leader in bioplastics thanks to the TotalEnergies Corbion joint venture


  • Headquarters: Gorinchem, The Netherlands
  • PLA production plant: Rayong, Thailand
  • Future PLA production plant: Grandpuits, France

Partners: TotalEnergies and Corbion (50/50 joint venture)
Total production capacity: over 175,000 tons of PLA, making TotalEnergies Corbion one of the world's leading PLA producers


PLA production capacity since 2018


An extra 100,000 tons

with the future Grandpuits production plant by 2030

As part of our determination to contribute to meet the challenge of climate change, we are exploring the most promising pathways for recovering energy from biomass. One such solution is PLA (polylactic acid). This 100% bio-based, recyclable, and compostable plastic is made from renewable raw materials (such as sugar and starch). In March 2017, we partnered with Corbion, world leader in lactic acid, to create the TotalEnergies Corbion joint venture.

Our ambition is to capture a 10% share of the biopolymer market by 2030 and transform our TotalEnergies Corbion joint venture into a global leader in PLA.

Producing and marketing bioplastics

Driven by strong demand, the bioplastics market is growing rapidly, with growth expected to reach between 10 and 15% a year by 2025.  PLA, a 100% bio-based, recyclable, and compostable polymer, is one of the first renewable polymers capable of competing with conventional polymers when it comes to performance. Producing PLA generates three times less CO2 than producing fossil-based polymers. 

Our decision to create a joint venture with Corbion sends out a strong signal of our ambition to become a world leader in PLA. joint venture’s main mission is to produce and market a range of PLA-based polymers under the Luminy® brand: from standard to recycled PLA or innovative products, such as high heat-resistant PLA and PDLA1 featuring unique properties. These products have been designed to meet the needs of customers in a wide range of markets, especially packaging, consumer goods and 3D printing, as well as medical devices and electronic equipment.

PLA makes a valuable contribution to the circular economy. End-of-life PLA products can be recycled using mechanical or advanced recycling processes, and even composted in certain cases.

1 Poly D-Lactic Acid

In a such growing market as the bioplastics one, a joint venture like TotalEnergies Corbion is a key player. It combines Corbion's expertise in raw materials with TotalEnergies' know-how in polymer processes. By guaranteeing access to products and technologies, we are supporting our customers in transitioning more sustainable solutions such as bioplastics, an attractive alternative to conventional plastics.
Thomas Philipon Chief Executive Officer of TotalEnergies Corbion

Learn more about the TotalEnergies Corbion joint venture

Thanks to the Rayong plant (Thailand) with its annual production capacity of 75,000 tons, global PLA production levels increased by nearly 50% to reach 240,000 tons per year.

Once the Grandpuits production plant in France is commissioned, TotalEnergies Corbion will produce over 175,000 tons of PLA per year, making  the joint venture a global leader in PLA with 10% share of the biopolymer market by 2030.

PLA: transforming sugar or starch into bioplastic

Granulés de PLA

Lactic acid, which is obtained from the fermentation of sugar or starch, is the raw material used to produce polylactic acid or PLA. The lactic acid is then transformed into a monomer, i.e. lactide. Polymerizing lactide is the process used to create PLA.

End-of-life PLA can undergo industrial composting, or it can be recycled using mechanical or advanced recycling processes. With advanced recycling, PLA is depolymerized to its initial monomer, namely lactic acid, which can be used again to manufacture PLA. In 2021, the Rayong plant in Thailand produced its first tons of advanced recycled PLA.