On-going growth in bio-based polymers


he worldwide production capacity for bio-based polymers grew by 4% to 6.6 million tonnes from

2015-2016. This represents a share of 2% of the global polymer market. The bio-based polymer turnover was about EUR13 billion worldwide in 2016 compared to EUR11 billion in 2014. Production capacity of bio-based polymers is forecast to increase from 6.6 mil- lion tonnes in 2016 to 8.5 million tonnes by 2021.

The development of the bio- based polymer market aligns to the overall growth rate of the polymer market as a whole. In contrast to a 10% annual growth between 2012 and 2014, the capacity growth data now show a 4% annual growth rate from 2015 to 2021. This is almost the same as for the overall global pol- ymer capacity. The main reasons for this slower increase in capacity are low oil prices, poor politi- cal support and a slower than expected growth of the capacity utilisation rate.

Not all bio-based polymers are biodegradable, but some important ones are, for example, polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA), polylactic acid (PLA) and starch blends. Strong political support can only be found in Italy and France for biodegradable solu- tions in the packaging sector. In this sector, the global demand for biodegradable packaging still exhibits double digit growth. Additional demand could come


from the increasing microplastic problem (marine littering), but so far biodegradable plastics have not benefitted from this debate. The market study by nova- Institute entitled ‘Bio-based Building Blocks and Poly- mers – Global Capacities and Trends 2016 – 2021’ provides a comprehensive insight into the bio-based world mar- ket, with the latest data on capacities and applications for all relevant bio-based build-

ing blocks and polymers. The 249-page report, now avail- able for EUR2,000, shows real data for the year 2016 and a forecast for 2021. The data are collected by a high-level biopolymer expert group from Asia, Europe and the US, with direct contact to the lead- ing bio-based building block and polymer producers in the world.

The report contains more than 50 figures and 140 tables,

production capacities in North and South America, Asia and Europe from 2011-2021 for 17 bio-based building-blocks and thirteen polymers, and the different application sectors per polymer. In addition, the report shows detailed company profiles of 104 companies, which produce 70 different bio-based building-blocks and polymers.

More information from

Total of 38 new members for BIC

At its recent General Assembly in Brussels, the Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC) welcomed 16 new Full members and 22 new Associate members, signalling strong European co-operation on the bioeconomy. They join a

unique cross-section of experts, including technology providers and representatives from the forestry, pulp and paper, chemicals, energy and other manufacturing sectors, all working together to develop innovative bio-based value chains.

Dirk Carrez, BIC Executive

Director, said: “The addition of 38 new members demonstrates confidence in BIC’s ability to drive the European bioeconomy forward by bringing the bio-based industries

together. We are excited about our growth, which shows strong industry commitment and support for the Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking”. More information from

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