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Politics Capacity

Politics Capacity [1000t/a] Capacity [1000t/a] Capacity [1000t/a] 1.500 1.250 1.000 750 500 250 0 500 450 400 350 300 250 200 150 100 50 0 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Petrochemical raw material base Petrochemical additives/Blend components Renewable raw material base 44 81 189 2000 2007 2010 Table 2: Dynamic progress of manufacturing capacities of biodegradable, thermoplastic polymers (2000 – 2007 – 2010) Starch/Starch-Blends Table 3: Availability of materials 2007 and expected potential 2010 Cellulose regenerates Polylactides (PLA) Producers Types Others Table 4: Overview of the numbers of commercial material types and producers USA PLA/Polyester-Blends Degradable Celluloseesters Cellulose regenerates Polyhydroxyalkanoates Polycaprolactones Polylactides (PLA) Degradable Polyesters Water soluble/degradable PVAL Starch/Starch-Blends Cellulose regenerates Polylactides (PLA) PLA/Polyester-Blends Polycaprolactones Degradable Polyesters Others Water soluble/degradable PVAL Polyhydroxyalkanoates Degradable Celluloseesters West Europe Asien Australien Table 5: Main production countries of thermoplastic biopolymers Polyhydroxyalkanoates Polycaprolactones Degradable Celluloseesters PLA/Polyester-Blends 110 368 901 Capacity 2007 Caoacity 2010 Water soluble/degradable PVAL Degradable Polyesters Others Starch/Starch-Blends Manufacturing capacities have grown significantly in recent years due to the rapidly increasing market demand. As of August 2007, the worldwide annual capacity for biodegradable polymer materials adds up to 315,000 tonnes. (Source: own investigations, personal communication, manufacturers‘ information, European Bioplastics). Based on statements by different raw material suppliers capacities are expected to reach approximately 1,400,000 tonnes by 2010 (Table 2). To get a precise picture and to avoid double counting, those fractions of biopolymers that are simply blended with other components to form “new” biopolymers would have to be subtracted. Therefore, the actual availability as shown in table 2 is somewhat less than generally published. It is difficult however to present exact data because the particular amounts of production and composition of material types are not revealed. Basically, both renewable and petrochemical raw materials, especially petrochemically-based additives, are used in so-called natural-based biopolymer blends. Because the percentage of these additives and of the petrochemical blend components is not exactly known, as mentioned before, it could not be separated from the biopolymers blends that are based on renewable resources. Therefore, based on careful estimates, 30% by weight of the natural-based biopolymers blends were assigned to the petrochemical raw materials (light blue area in table 2). Hence the real percentage of renewable raw materials for production of biopolymers is less than generally assumed. It should be noted that this paper only deals with those partially biodegradable polyvinyl alcohol (PVAL) and cellulose acetate (CA) materials that are used explicitly as biodegradable materials. Also, only those cellulosic materials are considered, which are known to be used explicitly as biodegradable films in the packaging industry. Not considered in this paper are other cellulosic applications and in particular cellulosic fibres as used in, for instance, textile applications. 32 bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/07] Vol. 2

The general availability of the biopolymers can be divided into different material types. The most important are starch, polylactide (PLA) and polyester polymers, plus blends made out of these. Table 3 shows the different currently available types of biopolymer materials (including blends), and their potential by 2010. From an application viewpoint there is a significant diversity in the number of currently commercially available material types and the number of manufacturers (Table 4). Based on a detailed investigation it can be established that there are 26 commercial producers of biopolymers. In addition many more companies and research entities are currently active at the R&D level and/or operate on the Asian market only. Altogether, approximately 60 companies are currently known to be active in the field of biopolymers. The most important countries producing biodegradable, thermoplastic biopolymers on an industrial level include the USA, Western Europe, the Far East and Australia (Table 5). Various countries have their own priorities concerning the material types. This may be attributed to their particular R&D history, the local availability of raw materials or simply the company location. Looking at the future, there is reason to assume that the market for biopolymers will continue to expand rapidly and undergo further changes in the coming years. While the second generation of biopolymers was developed almost exclusively for use as biodegradable packaging, a third generation will be developed for application in other fields, e.g., the automotive industry, consumer electronics, textiles or building, etc. Beside the utilisation of renewable raw materials and their different end of life options additional new technical questions will have to be addressed, including heat deflection, fogging, colouring, impact behaviour, UV-stabilisation etc. And finally the search for new biopolymer additives and refined manufacturing technologies will continue. The project on which this paper is based (see bioplastics MAGAZINE 01/2007 p. 12) is carried out in cooperation with M-Base, Aachen, Germany and supported by the German BMELV (German Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection), represented by FNR (Professional Agency for Renewable Resources). Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 BIODEGRADATION PROCESS EcoWorks ® 1-800-4-CORTEC St. Paul, MN 55110 USA © Cortec Corporation 2006 70® 100% Biodegradable EcoWorks Replacement for Plastic and Polyethylene Up to 70% Bio-based With Annually Renewable Resources From thick rigid plastic cards to fl exible protective wrap, EcoWorks ® 70 by Cortec ® Research Chemists offers universal, biodegradable replacement to traditional plastic and polyethylene films. This patent pending breakthrough meets ASTM D6400 and DIN V 54 900. EcoWorks ® 70 does not contain polyethylene or starch but relies heavily on renewable, bio-based polyester from corn. 100% biodegradable, it turns into water and carbon dioxide in commercial composting. EcoWorks BioPlastic.indd 1 8/2/06 8:44:40 bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/07] Vol. 2 33

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