Major processor ADM announced Tuesday the signing of a memorandum of understanding with LG Chem to research lactic acid production to be used in bioplastics and other plant-based products.

The agreement, signed by ADM Chairman and CEO Juan Luciano and LG Chem Vice Chairman and CEO Hak Cheol Shin, is the first step in a potential 2022 joint venture between the two companies. A release states the venture would establish a high-purity corn-based lactic acid production facility located in the U.S.

“Today’s agreement is yet another way in which we’re delivering on growth opportunities in plant-based solutions,” Luciano said in the release. “We’re excited to work with a global leader like LG Chem to expand US production of lactic acid and continue to expand our capabilities to meet growing demand for responsibly produced products.”

A second venture between the companies will look at using the lactic acid from the first venture to produce polylactic acid — a plant-based plastic that can be used in food packaging material, textiles and engineering plastics.

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“The establishment of a joint venture with ADM would be the beginning of a new journey, formalizing our cooperation and advancing us toward a sustainable business structure for the benefit of the environment and society,” said Shin. “Once the joint venture is established, LG Chem would receive a stable supply of raw materials needed to enter the bioplastics market in earnest.”

LG Chem and ADM previously signed a joint development agreement in 2019 focused on creating bio-based acrylic acid for use in diapers and hygiene products. 

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