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Bio–Based Polymers

Fast Growth of Bio–Polymers: Production to Triple by 2020

| Editor: Dominik Stephan

Bio-based drop-in PET and the new polymers PLA and PHA show the fastest rates of market growth.
Gallery: 3 Pictures
Bio-based drop-in PET and the new polymers PLA and PHA show the fastest rates of market growth. (Picture: Nova Institut)

Production capacity for bio–based polymers will triple from 5.1 million tons in 2013 to 17 million tons in 2020, representing a two percent share of polymer production in 2013 and four percent in 2020. The bio-based polymer turnover was about € 10 billion worldwide in 2013. Europe looses considerable shares in total production to Asia.

Bright future for bio-based polsymers: In its recently updated market study, the Nova Institute, research partner of the association “European Bioplastics”, expects bio-based polymers production capacities to grow by more than 400 % by 2018.

The production capacity for bio-based polymers boasts very impressive development and annual growth rates, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of almost 20 % in comparison to petrochemical polymers, which have a CAGR between 3-4 %.

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The 5.1 million tons bio-based polymer production capacity represent a 2 % share of overall structural polymer production at 256 million tons in 2013 and a bio-based polymer turnover of about € 10 billion (5 Mio. t (production capacity) x 2.50 €/kg (estimated average bio-based polymer price) x 0,8 (capacity utilization rate)).

Bio-based drop-in PET and the new polymers PLA and PHA show the fastest rates of market growth.
Bio-based drop-in PET and the new polymers PLA and PHA show the fastest rates of market growth. (Picture: Nova Institut)

17 Million Tons by 2020

This bio-based share of overall polymer production has been growing over the years: it was 1.5 % in 2011 (3.5 million tonnes bio-based for a global production of 235 million tons).

Current producers of bio-based polymers estimate that production capacity will reach 17 million tonnes by 2020. With an expected total polymer production of about 400 million tonnes in 2020, the bio-based share should increase from 2 % in 2013 to more than 4 % in 2020, meaning that bio-based production capacity will grow faster than overall production.

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