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, Asia, South America, Materials Suppliers

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

Americhem beats weather woes at start of 2014 for good fiscal year

November 26, 2014 9:45 am ET

Gains from the automotive and construction markets provided a strong fiscal 2014 for Americhem Inc.    More

Image

PE prices drop for first time in two years, PP down 5 cents

November 26, 2014 10:22 am ET

North American polyethylene buyers might want to circle November 2014 in red on their calendars — since PE prices this month have fallen for...    More

Image

Taipei Plas vandal and German firm trade lawsuits

November 25, 2014 1:26 pm ET

Taiwan businessman Karma Tang, who splashed red paint at German firm Baumüller GmbH's Taipei Plas booth, is in a messy legal battle.    More

Image

Auxiliary equipment maker Ross expands in India

November 25, 2014 1:12 pm ET

U.S. auxiliary equipment maker Charles Ross & Son Co. is expanding in India, opening a new plant early next year in Pune.    More

German plastics firms weigh options for Brazil

November 25, 2014 6:00 am ET

Brazil, the largest market in South America, has been a lure for foreign investors for many years, and in the past decade, it has enjoyed good economi...    More

Market Reports

Plastics in Brazil - State of the Industry Report

This in-depth report examines the Brazilian plastics industry from a historical and geographical context. Our analysts provide insight on economic trends and forecasts, growing manufacturing sectors that utilize plastics, private investment opportunities, market environment challenges, and innovations in R&D.

Data tables and charts on producer prices, trade, plastics production and end market indicators is also included.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Injection Molders Market Report & Ranking 2014

This special package contains our 132-page 2014 Market Report on the Injection Molding segment and our exclusive 2014 RANKINGS database of 500+ Injection Molders for a discounted package price.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

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

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

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

October 27, 2015 - October 29, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - New York - 2015

More Events