Bio-based polymers worldwide: Ongoing growth despite difficult market environment

In 2016: 6.6 Million tonnes production capacity, 2% share of all polymers, €13 billion turnover, durable applications are dominating

Bio-basierte Polymere weltweit (PresseBox) ( Hürth, )
The worldwide production capacity for bio-based polymers grew by 4% to 6.6 Million tonnes from 2015 to 2016. This represents a share of 2% of the global polymer market. The bio-based polymer turnover was about €13 billion worldwide in 2016 compared to €11 billion in 2014. Production capacity of bio-based polymers is forecasted to increase from 6.6 million tonnes in 2016 to 8.5 million tonnes by 2021.

The development of the bio-based polymer market aligns to the overall growth rate of the polymer market as a whole. In contrast to a 10% annual growth between 2012 and 2014, the capacity growth data now show a 4% annual growth rate from 2015 to 2021. This is almost the same as for the overall global polymer capacity. The main reasons for this slower increase in capacity are low oil prices, poor political support and a slower than expected growth of the capacity utilization rate (see figure).

Not all bio-based polymers are biodegradable, but some important ones are, e.g. polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA), polylactic acid (PLA) and starch blends. Strong political support can only be found in Italy and France for biodegradable solutions in the packaging sector. In this sector, the global demand for biodegradable packaging still shows a double digit growth. Additional demand could come from the increasing microplastic problem (marine littering), but so far biodegradable plastics have not benefitted from this debate.

nova-Institute’s market study “Bio-based Building Blocks and Polymers – Global Capacities and Trends 2016 – 2021” is unique and gives the most comprehensive insight into the bio-based world market with latest data on capacities and applications for all relevant bio-based building blocks and polymers. The report shows real data for the year 2016 and a forecast for 2021. The data are collected by a high-level biopolymer expert group from Asia, Europe and the US (see picture) with direct contact to the leading bio-based building block and polymer producers in the world. The data of the annual nova market report is regularly used by leading brands of the industry and constitutes the basis of European Bioplastics’ annual market update, relying on the proven high and outstanding quality of nova-Institute’s research.

The report contains more than 50 figures and 140 tables, production capacities in North and South America, Asia and Europe from 2011 to 2021 for seventeen bio-based building-blocks and thirteen polymers, and the different application sectors per polymer. In addition, the report shows detailed company profiles of 104 companies, which produce 70 different bio-based building-blocks and polymers. In total, the report has 249 pages and is available for 2,000 € at www.bio-based.eu/reports
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