Thành Thành Công - Biên Hòa Joint Stock Company (TTC AgriS)
is a multinational agricultural enterprise, initially formed as a joint venture with Group Bourbon, Sugarcane Union II, and Tay Ninh Sugarcane Union. With over 50 years of experience, TTC AgriS commands nearly 50% of Vietnam's sugar industry market share. It operates ten sugar factories, including facilities in Laos and Cambodia, with a total daily production capacity of 4,690 tons of sugar.
In its commitment to sustainability, TTC AgriS is actively implementing innovative agricultural solutions to boost productivity while maintaining environmentally friendly practices. The company is dedicated to a "Green" business approach and endeavours to achieve Net Zero emissions by 2035, guided by ambitious targets.
The production of sugar by crushing sugarcane generates significant volumes of by-products:
- Bagasse: the fibrous material left behind after extracting juice from sugar cane;
- Molasses: a thick, syrupy residue left after sugar extraction;
- Sugarcane leaves; and
- Mudcake: the dirt on the sugarcane when it is brought into the mill.
The challenge for TTC AgriS is that they cannot use all their bagasse for their boiler combustion, so they are looking to expand their application of bagasse into bio-based plastic products. Their bagasse supplies are by-products from sugarcane and coconut processing.
How might we enhance the value of bagasse by transforming them into sustainable plastic products?
Bagasse, due to its fibrous nature, is a promising raw material for producing biodegradable plastics. These bio-based plastics can potentially replace traditional single-use plastics, contributing significantly to reducing plastic pollution. Biodegradable plastic solutions from bagasse have the potential to generate significant cost savings in the long run. These savings may include reduced waste management expenses, potential government incentives for adopting eco-friendly materials, and the establishment of a positive brand image, which can translate into substantial benefits for businesses over time.
In the field of biodegradable plastics derived from bagasse, there exist challenges and limitations in current technologies and applications, including but not limited to limited material strength and durability, high production costs, limited biodegradability in specific environments, and a lack of standardisation and regulation. TTC AgriS is currently in the ideation phase for developing applications for their product. A current challenge involves the process of lignin separation within the sugarcane structure without compromising the integrity of the cellulose fibre structure.
- Feature: Full biodegradability, breaking down into natural substances within a reasonable timeframe (for example, compostable within months to a year)
- Performance: Efficient degradation under diverse environmental conditions, minimising environmental impact and plastic pollution
Material Strength and Durability
- Feature: Sufficient strength and durability comparable to traditional plastics
- Performance: Resistant to mechanical stress, bending, and stretching without compromising integrity, suitable for various applications without frequent breakage
- Feature: Resistance to water absorption, ensuring stability in moisture-rich environment
- Performance: Maintains structural integrity and functionality in humid or wet conditions, suitable for diverse environments
- Feature: Customisable formulation for specific applications
- Performance: Flexibility in adjusting material properties (for example, flexibility and rigidity) to meet various product requirements
- The maximum product cost for biodegradable plastic solutions derived from bagasse aimed at the range of no more than 20% higher than the cost of equivalent traditional plastics currently available in the market
Ease of Processing
- Feature: Easy processing using common manufacturing techniques like injection moulding, extrusion and thermoforming
- Performance: Compatible with standard processing equipment, seamless integration into existing manufacturing processes
Certifications and Standards Compliance:
- Feature: Compliance with relevant international standards and certifications for biodegradable and compostable plastics
- Performance: Meeting established standards, ensuring product authenticity and environmental claims, building trust
Safe for Food Contact (if applicable)
- Feature: Food-safe and approved for direct contact with edible items
- Performance: Non-toxic, odourless, free from harmful chemicals, ensuring safety for food products and consumers
The project will focus on formulation development and prototyping, with a targeted completion timeframe of 12 months.
This phase includes researching sugarcane bagasse properties and potential bioplastic formulations. Subsequently, bioplastic formulations, primarily utilising sugarcane bagasse as the raw material, will be developed. Lab-scale experiments will be conducted to refine the manufacturing process, followed by the creation of prototypes for testing and evaluation. After reaching this stage, a comprehensive feasibility assessment of large-scale production will be carried out. Additionally, efforts will be made to identify suitable technologies and partners for this large-scale production phase.
The selected innovator will have access to test sites and pilot production facilities at various scales to conduct trials and experiments. Pilot location:
- Option 1:
TTC AgriS operates multiple sugar mills and sugarcane farms. Therefore, we have a ready supply of bagasse, a byproduct of the sugarcane processing.
- Option 2:
Research and Innovation Hubs:
Locating the pilot facility near research institutions or innovation hubs specialising in bioplastics and sustainable materials can provide access to expertise and collaborative opportunities. So, we think Singapore could be a suitable option.
Resources and incentives
TTC AgriS is providing funding of
for a trial. This funding can cover various aspects such as research expenses, material procurement, equipment costs, and labour expenses. Further funding will be considered as the project progresses into the pilot phase.
Enterprise Singapore is augmenting this support with a
POC development grant. This POC development grant will be made available to solution providers, both local and foreign, provided that they engage in innovation development activities in Singapore.
TTC AgriS will also provide expertise and mentorship to help the innovator overcome technical challenges and optimise the solution. Access to relevant data, scientific literature, and research materials related to bagasse-based polymers and biodegradable plastics will also be provided. This information is vital for informed decision-making and experimental design.
In addition to one-time funding, promising projects may have access to long-term investment and venture capital funding, ensuring sustained support for development and scaling up.
Check out the recording from our Info Session, where TTC AgriS shared more about their challenge statement.
Market Potential / Business Opportunity
Potential Demand from Other Companies:
- Industries such as the Packaging Industry, Food Service and Catering, Retail Chains, Waste Management Companies, Agricultural Industry, and Custom Manufacturing may express interest in your solutions.
Global Expansion Opportunities:
- As environmental awareness continues to rise worldwide, there is potential for international expansion. Companies operating in regions with stringent environmental regulations and environmentally conscious consumers could show a keen interest in adopting these solutions.
- Collaborations with international partners could facilitate the exchange of technology and expertise, paving the way for global market penetration.
TTC AgriS would like the IP of this solution to be registered under GMA Singapore.