One of the fastest-growing materials sector in the past decade has been the production of plastics from renewable resources, referred to as bioplastics. The main driver of this growth is an interest in reducing use of petroleum as a feedstock because of its contribution to climate change, its pricing volatility and its occasional role as a political weapon.
This recently issued report explains the various types of bioplastics that are available, indicates key players and trends, and provides detailed forecasts on demand by global region and projected use by type of application and sector such as packaging, automotive, consumer goods and general industrial. The global bioplastic demand totaled 1.1 million metric tons in 2013. This is expected to reach 1.4 million metric tons in 2014 and about 6 million metric tons in 2019, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 32.7% for the five-year period, 2014 to 2019.
The focus of this report is on plastics made from renewable resources such as biomass or food crops. There is even some potential development of bioplastics from animal resources. Plastics that may be potentially made from waste carbon dioxide are reviewed because of their potential impact on bioplastics, but their data is not included in the forecasts presented here. Bioplastics are further defined here as polymer materials that are produced by synthesizing—chemically or biologically—materials that contain renewable organic materials. Natural organic materials that are not chemically modified (e.g., wood composites) are excluded. The report includes the use of renewable resources to create monomers that replace petroleum-based monomers, such as feedstocks made from sugarcane that are used to manufacture polyester and polyethylene. Ethanol, a major product in Brazil, is one small chemical step from ethylene.
The focal point is on the following resin chemistries:
- Polylactic acid.
- Thermoplastic starch.
- Biopolyamides (nylons).
- Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA).
- Biopolyols and polyurethane.
- Biopolytrimethylene terephthalate (PTT)
- Biopolyethylene terephthalate (PET)
- Polybutylene Succinate (PBS)
Biodegradable and photodegradable polymers made from petrochemical feedstocks are not included. Other renewable resin chemistries are also covered but in less detail, as their roles are not as well developed. These include collagen and chitosan.
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