Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Cassava and PLA as raw material for Biodegradable polymer

We selected two raw materials for our final year comprehensive project design which are cassava and polylactic acid. Cassava is locally available raw material but polylactic acid is not locally manufactured. There is an ongoing project in Industrial Technology Institute to form polylactic acid from lactic acid which is extracted from coconut waste and sugar cane. Therefore there is positive potential to obtain all raw materials locally but the presently available option is importing polylactic acid for manufacturer or marketer. Cargill, Minneapolis, MN is one of such manufacturer and the cost of polylactic acid is 1.00 – 3.00 $/lb).

Cassava is traditionally cultivated during the maha season throughout Sri Lanka, except in the southwest coastal districts (Matara, Galle, Kalutara, Colombo and Gampaha) and Kegalle district in the mid-country .Sri Lankan farmers produce considerable amount of cassava yield in large extent of land. Following table will show comprehensive information of overall cassava production of Sri Lanka.

Year

Extent (Hectares)

Total Production (Metric Tons))

2001

27,300

233,580

2002

26,380

224,980

2003

26,280

228,830

2004

23,140

220,780

2005

23,460

223,210

2006

23,460

223,380

Cassava is a seasonal product which is produce in Yala season (April to September) and Maha season (September to February). In Maha season the production is higher than yala season. The data analyzing according to the season is also important for establishing buying strategy for the proposed industry.

Year

Extent in Maha

Hectares

Extent in Yala

Hectares

Production in Maha

Metric Tonnes

Production in

Yala

Metric Tonnes

2001

15,920

11,380

135,510

98,070

2002

15,030

11,350

130,090

94,890

2003

15,710

10,570

137,650

91,180

2004

13,060

10,080

130,460

90,320

2005

12,980

10,480

129,030

94,180

2006

13,280

10,180

132,300

91,080

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