We aim to produce L-lactate and L-lactide at 30% less than the conventional production methods.
Poly lactic acid is a polymer that can be produced by polymerising lactic acid through making L-lactide. Currently, PLA cannot compete on price with conventional plastics. Bringing down the production price and selling price for PLA, will enable cost-competitive poly lactic acid production.
Our technology enables the direct processing of a feedstock into lactic acid, bypassing the conventional method of first refining sugar and then fermenting it. This is where our cost advantage partly arises. Besides using a cheaper feedstock for fermentation, no biomass inoculum is needed once the process is started, which creates another cost advantage. Also, a relatively inexpensive fermentor is needed, decreasing the capital investment.
The challenge in ecology-based L-lactate production lies in directing the carbohydrates, such as glucose, sucrose and starch specifically to L-lactate. The aim is to produce little by-products, to create a high yield of product on the used feedstock. This can be achieved by applying the optimal selective pressure to the microbial community, which selects for lactic acid producing species, thereby controlling the process using ecological principles. Such a selective pressure consists out of a given pH, temperature, residence time of the cells etc.