According to Nova-Institute’s latest market and trend report, the total production volume of bio-based polymers reached 7.5 million tonnes in 2018, which equates to about 2% of the production volume of petrochemical polymers. The potential of these materials is much higher, the authors note, but the low price of oil combined with the lack of political support are factors working against their reaching significant growth.
The bio-based industry has, however, grown more professional and differentiated over the years. Today, there is a bio-based alternative for practically every application and production capacities and volumes are predicted to continue to show a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth rate) of about 4% through 2023, almost the same rate as that projected for petrochemical polymers and continue to hover at around 2% throughout the forecast period.
The main reason for the rise in production capacity is the new Total Corbion PLA production facility in Thailand which came on stream in 2018 and the added production capacity of polytrimethylene terephthalate (PTT) and starch blends in the US.
Furthermore, the increase is also due to the dedicated bio-based polymers PEF, PHA, PLA and starch blends as well as the new established bio-based production capacity of PP, the increase in PE capacity and an increase in polyamides and PBAT.