Asia, South America to get 'lion's share' of biopolymer investment

By Steve Toloken
Staff Reporter / Asia Bureau Chief

Published: March 7, 2013 12:34 pm ET
Updated: March 7, 2013 12:36 pm ET

Related to this story

Topics Materials, Materials Suppliers, South America, Asia

HURTH, GERMANY -- The "lion's share" of capital investment in bio-based polymers through 2020 will happen in Asia and South America because of better access to feedstocks and a favorable political framework, according to a new study from Germany's Nova Institute.

Global biopolymer production is expected to grow faster than overall plastics production, although it will remain a fairly niche product, rising from 1.5 percent of global production in 2011 to 3 percent in 2020, the study said.

That represents a more than tripling of biopolymer production globally, to 12 million metric tons in 2020 from 3.5 million metric tons in 2011, as biomaterials growth easily outpaces overall polymer production, the study said.

The analysis found a "considerably higher" level of biopolymer production than previously estimated, because it looked more broadly at the industry, examining 247 companies with 363 production sites around the world.

"The development of bio-based polymers is still very dynamic," said Michael Carus, managing director of the Hurth, Germany-based group. "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," said Carus, in a statement. "PLA and PHA also have a remarkable growth ahead of them, even without the existence of such a 'supply chain captain.'"

Nova said the fastest growth will come in bio-based "drop-in" versions of PET, polyethylene and polypropylene, and from new polymers PLA and PHA.

The study said each of the four major manufacturing regions – Asia, Europe, North America, and South America – would see growth, but it said Europe and North America would see their share of global production shrink.

Europe's global share is projected to drop from 20 percent to 14 percent, while North America's share is slated to fall more modestly, from 15 percent to 13 percent.

South America will grow from 13 percent to 18 percent, jumping from No. 4 to No. 2, while Asia will remain the largest producer, growing from 52 percent to 55 percent of global production.

"Every region of the world will experience development in the field of bio-based polymer production," the study said.

It said Asia has become a key region for the industry, noting developments in Thailand, India, Taiwan, mainland China and Japan. The study also said Asia will push development of drop-in biopolymers that can be run on existing equipment.

"The bio-based drop-in market is developing fast in Asia, where many converters are SMEs and cannot afford important alterations to their existing processing equipment," it said.

The study's survey was funded by 26 companies and institutions from 11 countries, which had access to the intermediate results. The report is available from Nova for 6,500 euros plus tax.


Comments

Asia, South America to get 'lion's share' of biopolymer investment

By Steve Toloken
Staff Reporter / Asia Bureau Chief

Published: March 7, 2013 12:34 pm ET
Updated: March 7, 2013 12:36 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

DuPont investing $100 million for more ethylene copolymer capacity

September 16, 2014 1:51 pm ET

Increased packaging demand is leading materials giant DuPont Co. to spend more than $100 million to increase capacity for ethylene copolymers at its...    More

Image

Latvian plastics recycler Nordic Plast boosts capacity

September 16, 2014 10:15 am ET

Latvian plastics waste recycler Nordic Plast Ltd. has invested more than 2.5 million euros ($3.2 million) to expand capacity and modernize production ...    More

Image

ZF finalizes deal to buy TRW, creating another global auto supply giant

September 15, 2014 1:09 pm ET

TRW Automotive Holdings, in a supply chain megadeal that has been in the works since mid-July, said Sept. 15 it has agreed to be acquired by German...    More

Image

Sabic, Chinese Academy of Sciences sign five-year development agreement

September 15, 2014 11:54 am ET

Ties between one of the world's biggest oil producers and one of its biggest consumers grew tighter Sept. 12 with the announcement of a five-year...    More

Image

BASF analyzes products based on sustainability potential

September 15, 2014 11:48 am ET

Chemicals giant BASF SE has created a new process for managing its product portfolio based on sustainability criteria.    More

Market Reports

Shale Gas Market - Analysis of North American Region

This report highlights the impact of shale-based natural gas on the North American plastics market and features an in-depth analysis of production trends in the United States during 2013 and a forecast for 2014 and beyond.

Learn more

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook North America

This in-depth report analyzes economic and market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as growth strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies.

Learn more

Pipe, Profile & Tubing Extrusion in North America 2014

U.S. demand for extruded plastics is expected to grow by 3 percent in 2014, with PVC remaining the largest segment.

Plastic pipe will post the strongest gains through 2018, continuing to take market share from competing materials in a range of markets.

Our latest market report provides in-depth analysis of current trends and their financial impact on the pipe, profile and tubing extrusion industry in North America.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events