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Market European and Global Markets 2012 and Future Trends Wood-Plastic Composites (WPC) and Natural Fibre Composites (NFC) Table 1: Production of biocomposites (WPC and NFC) in the European Union in 2012 (in tonnes) (nova 2014) In the European Union about 352,000 tonnes of Wood- and Natural Fibre Composites were produced in 2012. The most important application sectors are construction (decking, siding and fencing) and automotive interior parts. About 15% of the total European composite market is covered by Wood- Plastic Composites (WPC) and Natural Fibre Composites (NFC). A comprehensive market study was conducted by the nova-Institute (Germany) in cooperation with Asta Eder Composites Consulting (Austria/ Finland) to give a detailed picture of the use and amount such biocomposites in the European biobased economy. The analysis covers composites in extrusion, injection and compression moulding in different sectors and for different applications. Total production of biocomposites Table 1 summarises the results of the survey, showing all Wood- Plastic Composites and Natural Fibre Composites produced in the European Union, including all sectors, applications and processing technologies. Decking and automotive are the most important application sectors for WPC, followed by siding and fencing. Only the automotive sector is relevant for Natural Fibre Composites (NFC) today. The share of WPC and NFC in the total composite market – including glass, carbon, wood and Natural Fibre Composites – is already an impressive 15%. Even higher shares are to be expected in the future: NFC are starting to enter other markets than just the automotive industry. WPC granulates for injection moulding are now produced and offered by global players and are becoming more attractive for clients that manufacture consumer goods, automotive and technical parts. With increasing polymer prices and expected incentives for bio-based products (the bio-based economy is one of the lead markets in Europe) this trend will go from strength to strength, resulting in two-digit growth and increasing market shares over the coming decade. 100% 74% 26% 352,000 Total Volume Biocomposites 15 % Share 2.4 Million Composite Production in European Union total volume (Glass, Carbon, WPC and NFC) (Photo: 260,000 Wood-Plastic Composites (Photo: nova) 92,000 Natural Fibre Composites 90,000 Automotive 2,000 Others 42 bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/14] Vol. 9

Market t Global Production of WPC in 2010 and 2012 and Forecast for 2015 2010 2012 900,000 2015 10,000 20,000 220,000 260,000 350,000 10,000 1,100,000 50,000 20,000 40,000 5,000 25,000 70,000 900,000 1,350,000 2010 2012 2015 300,000 2010 2012 1,800,000 2015 30,000 40,000 55,000 40,000 65,000 110,000 Fig 1. Wood-Plastic Composites – Decking still dominant, but technical applications and consumer goods rising The typical production process in Europe is extrusion of a decking profile based on a PVC or PE matrix followed by PP. Increasing market penetration by WPC has meant that WPC volumes have risen strongly and Europe is now a mature WPC market. However, WPC is increasingly used for applications beyond the traditional ones like decking or automotive parts. This includes for example, furniture, technical parts, consumer goods and household electronics, using injection moulding and other non-extrusion processes. Also, new production methods are being developed for the extrusion of broad WPC boards. In the face of rising plastic prices, WPC granulates are getting more and more attractive for injection moulding. Three big paper companies released cellulose-based PP granulates for injection moulding between 2012 and 2013. They use a PP matrix with cellulose and have fibre contents between 20 and 50% for new and interesting applications such as furniture, consumer goods and automotive parts. The report also gives an overview of the latest market developments in North-America, Asia and Russia, and provides an overview of, and a forecast for, the global WPC market. Worldwide WPC production will rise from 2.43 million tonnes in 2012 to 3.83 million tonnes in 2015. Although North America is still the world’s leading production region with 1.1 million tonnes, ahead of China (900,000 t) and Europe (260,000 t), it is expected that China (with 1.8 million t by then) will have overtaken North America (1.4 million t) by 2015. European production will grow by around 10% per year and reach 350,000 tonnes in 2015. WPC and NFC in the automotive industry Interior parts for the automotive industry is by far the most dominant use of Natural Fibre Composites – other sectors such as consumer goods are still at a very early stage. In the automotive sector, Natural Fibre Composites have a clear focus on interior trims for highvalue doors and dashboards. Wood- Plastic Composites are mainly used for rear shelves and trims for trunks and spare wheels, as well as in interior trims for doors. Figure 2 shows the total volume of 80,000 tonnes of different wood and Fig. 2: Use of wood and natural fibres for composites in the European automotive industry in 2012, including cotton and wood. Others are mainly jute, coir, sisal and abaca (nova 2014) kenaf hemp 8% 19% flax others 5% 7% cotton 25% 80,000 t 38% wood TOTAL VOLUME bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/14] Vol. 9 43

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