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bioplasticsMAGAZINE_1302

Report New market study

Report New market study on bio-based polymers Production capacity will triple to nearly 12 million tonnes from 2011 to 2020 Table 1: Bio-based polymers, short names, average biomass content, producer companies and locations Bio-based polymers Average biomass content of polymer Producing companies Locations until 2020 Cellulose Acetate CA 50% 9 15 Polyamide PA rising to 60%* 14 17 Polybutylene Adipate Terephthalat PBAT rising to 50%* 3 3 Polybutylene Succinate PBS rising to 80%* 11 12 Polyethylene PE 100% 3** 2 Polyethylene Terephthalat PET 30% to 35%*** 4 4 Polyhydroxy Alkanoates PHAs 100% 14 16 Polylactic Acid PLA 100% 27 32 Polypropylene PP 100% 1 1 Polyvinyl Chloride PVC 43% 2 2 Polyurethane PUR 30% 10 10 Starch Blends **** 40% 19 21 Total companies covered with detailed information in this report 114 135 Additional companies included in the “Bio-based Polymer Producer Database” 133 228 Total companies and locations recorded in the market study 247 363 * Currently still mostly fossil-based with existing drop-in solutions and a steady upward trend of the average bio-based share up to given percentage in 2020 ** Including Joint Venture of two companies sharing one location, counting as two *** Upcoming capacities of bio-pTA (purified Terephthalic Acid) are calculated to increase the average bio-based share, not the total bio-PET capacity **** Starch in plastic compound Summary Germany’s nova-Institute is publishing the most comprehensive market study of bio-based polymers ever made. The nova-Institute carried out this study in collaboration with renowned international experts from the field of bio-based polymers. It is the first time that a study has looked at every kind of bio-based polymer produced by 247 companies at 363 locations around the world and it examines in detail 114 companies in 135 locations. Considerably higher production capacity was found than in previous studies. The 3.5 million tonnes represent a share of 1.5% of an overall structural polymer production of 235 million tonnes in 2011. Current producers of bio-based polymers estimate that production capacity will reach nearly 12 million tonnes by 2020. With an expected total polymer production of about 400 million tonnes in 2020, the bio-based share should increase from 1.5% in 2011 to 3% in 2020, meaning that bio-based production capacity will grow faster than overall production. The most dynamic development is foreseen for dropin biopolymers, which are chemically identical to their petrochemical counterparts but at least partially derived from biomass. This group is spearheaded by partly biobased PET (Bio-PET) whose production capacity will reach about 5 million tonnes by the year 2020, using bioethanol from sugar cane. The second in this group are bio-based polyolefins like PE and PP, also based on bioethanol. But new in the market bio-based polymers PLA and PHA are also expected to at least quadruple the capacity between 2011 and 2020. Most investment in new bio-based polymer capacities will take place in Asia and South America because of better access to feedstock and a favourable political framework. Europe’s share will decrease from 20% to 14% and North America’s share from 15% to 13%, whereas Asia’s will increase from 52% to 55% and South 22 bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/13] Vol. 8

Report Figure 1: From biomass to polymers America’s from 13% to 18%. So world market shares are not expected to shift dramatically, which means that every region of the world will experience development in the field of biobased polymer production (cf. Fig. 3). Michael Carus, managing director of nova-Institute, about the survey results: “For the very first time we have robust market data about worldwide production capacity of all biobased polymers. This is considerably higher than in previous studies, which did not cover all polymers and producers. The forecast of a total capacity of 12 million tonnes by 2020 – a tripling of 2011 levels – suggests that bio-based polymers are definitely polymers for the future. It is also shown that the development of bio-based polymers is still very dynamic. Only five years ago, nobody would have expected bio-PET to grow to the biggest group among the bio-based polymers due to an initiative by one big brand-owner. This could happen again with any other bio-based polymer. PLA and PHA also have a remarkable growth ahead of them, even without the existence of such a supply chain captain.” Methodology The field of bio-based polymers is broad and the available information very diverse and sometimes inconsistent. This can lead to confusion and misinterpreted results. It therefore seems crucial to explain the methodology that was used for this survey. This study focuses exclusively on the producers of biopolymers, and the market data therefore does not cover the bio-plastics sector. It must clearly be differentiated between these two terms. A polymer is a chemical compound consisting of repeating structural units (monomers) synthesized through a polymerization or fermentation process, whereas a plastic material constitutes a blend of one or more polymers and additives. Market data covers only the producers of polymers, excluding plastic and compound processing in an attempt to avoid double counting over the various steps in the value chain. Starch blends are the single exception among plastics that have been included in the market research. They are always used in complex blends of many components such as aliphatic polyesters (e.g. PCL, PLA, PBAT, PBS). In order to also avoid double counting here, it was attempted to leave out the capacities of bio-based polymers used in starch blends. The focus of the study is on structural polymers, i.e. the polymers that will later constitute the structural mass of the finished plastic part (as opposed to functional polymers used in inks, coatings, adhesives or simply as a performance enhancer in other materials which were only covered selectively and are not included in the totals given in this summary). Regenerated cellulose (e.g. cellophane and viscose), natural rubber and linoleum are beyond the scope of this study. This market survey covers current market trends based on expert workshops, questionnaires and individual interviews on CEO level. It concentrates on bio-based polymers, i.e. derived from biomass (which may be biodegradable or not). However, it does also include market data on some polymers that are currently still fossil-based, namely polybutylene succinate (PBS) and polybutyleneadipat-terephthalate (PBAT). It may seem paradoxical, but the reasons for covering their production capacities are as follows. Their development is highly linked to the development of other bio-based polymers, as they are often used to enhance their properties in bio-based compounds. In the case of PBS, which is currently produced from fossil resources in relatively small quantities, the capacity development is spurred by the development of its bio-based precursors, as bio-based succinic acid can be produced at lower cost than its fossil-based alternative. They are both drop-in processable, i.e. every fossil-based PBS or bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/13] Vol. 8 23

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