New Comprehensive Market and Trend Report
Strong Growth in Bio-Based Building Blocks and Moderate Growth in Bio-Based Polymers
The market environment for bio-based building blocks and polymers remains challenging with low crude oil prices, little political support and partially underutilized capacities. Until now, the biodegradability of some bio-based polymers has not yet been able to generate a real advantage globally.
The production capacities of bio-based polymers continue to grow at around 3 to 4% per annum, i.e. at about the same rate as petrochemical polymers. Therefore, the market share of bio-based polymers in the total polymer market remains constant at around 2%. But the individual development of different bio-based polymers varies considerably. While some are virtually collapsing compared to previous forecasts (e.g. bio-PET), many are showing constant or slightly increasing capacities and a few are even showing significant growth (such as PLA). Additionally, for some bio-based polymers such as PHA, PEF, bio-PE and bio-PP, the prospects for the future are quite positive.
The new report is more than just an update, it differs from the previous versions in structure and content. It contains comprehensive information on capacity development from 2011 to 2022, per building block and polymer as well as information on 102 individual polymer producers. A total of 17 bio-based building blocks and 15 polymers are covered in the report. In addition, the new issue includes analyses of market developments per building block and polymer, so that readers can quickly gain an overview of developments that go far beyond capacity figures.
In 2017, the world-wide capacities for bio-based polymers reached 4.6 million tonnes (including hard-to-estimate bio-based PUR this number goes up to 6.4 million t). The forecast for 2022 shows 5 million tonnes – including bio-based PUR: 7.5 million t.
With a CAGR of 10% between 2017 and 2022, Europe has the highest growth of bio-based polymer capacities compared to other regions of the world.
Figure 3 shows the capacity development for the sub-group of dedicated bio-based polymers. These polymers have no direct counterpart in the petrochemical world, therefore price pressure from cheap crude oil is lower than for other groups. Moreover, they are offering new properties and functionalities. The polymers in these groups show a higher CAGR compared to the drop-in groups, a trend already visible in 2011 that will probably continue to 2022. Bio-based polymers such as PLA become more and more established, additional capacities are created and new polymers such as PHA and PEF are introduced to the market.
As a consequence, the highest innovation takes place in this group, and a number of new developments are still to be expected. Success also depends on how quickly the new polymers can be integrated into the marketplace and how quickly their new properties can become added value for politicians and society.
The market and trend report is written by the international biopolymer expert group headed by the nova Institute. The authors come from Asia, North America and Europe.