NatureWorks began in 1989 as a Cargill research project looking for innovative uses of carbohydrates from plants as feedstock for more sustainable plastics, quickly matured into the innovative materials for which they are known today.
Their manufacturing facility, located in Blair, Nebraska, USA, has a name plate capacity of 330 million pounds (150,000 metric tons) of Ingeo biopolymer. The plant came online in 2002. In 2003, they built the world’s largest lactic acid manufacturing facility to feed their polymer plant. Then in 2009 they opened a state-of-the-art applications development facility. Most recently in 2016, they opened a new fermentation laboratory to develop commercial-scale methane to lactic acid fermentation technology.
How Ingeo is Made
Nature looks at greenhouse gases, like atmospheric carbon, as a feedstock, a raw material. It’s what trees, plants, and coral reefs, are built from. At NatureWorks, NatureWorks is doing the same thing – using the best technologies to turn greenhouse gases into a portfolio of polylactic acid (PLA) performance materials called Ingeo.
NatureWorks is now a world-leading biopolymers supplier and innovator with its Ingeo portfolio of naturally advanced materials made from renewable, abundant feedstocks with performance and economics that compete with oil-based intermediates, plastics, and fibers. These materials also provide brand owners new cradle-to-cradle options after the use of their products.