Bio-based polymers - Production capacity will triple from 3.5 million tonnes in 2011 to nearly 12 million tonnes in 2020

11 March 2013

Germany’s nova-Institute is publishing a comprehensive market study of bio-based polymers. Considerably higher production capacity was found than in previous studies. The 3.5 million tonnes represent a share of 1.5% of an overall construction polymer production of 235 million tonnes in 2011. Current producers of bio-based polymers estimate that production capacity will reach nearly 12 million tonnes by 2020. With an expected total polymer production of about 400 million tonnes in 2020, the bio-based share should increase from 1.5% in 2011 to 3% in 2020, meaning that bio-based production capacity will grow faster than overall production.
The most dynamic development is foreseen for drop-in biopolymers, which are chemically identical to their petrochemical counterparts but at least partially derived from biomass. This group is spearheaded by partly bio-based PET (Bio-PET) using bioethanol from sugar cane. The second in this group are bio-based polyolefins like PE and PP, also based on bioethanol. But “new in the market” bio-based polymers PLA and PHA are also expected to at least quadruple the capacity between 2011 and 2020 (Press Release nova-Institute, 6 March 2013).