Led by growing demand in Asia-Pacific and South America, the worldwide bioplastics market will reach revenues of over US$2.8 billion in 2018, with annual growth rates of 17.8 per cent, according to a new report from market research firm Ceresana Research.
"The global bioplastics market is set to hit nearly 2,000,000 tons in terms of volume in five years time, which is effectively four times the size of the market in 2007," the report said. "Bioplastics have moved past the initial phase of market introduction and are now experiencing robust increases in demand in virtually all parts of the world. Gains will be fueled by a number of factors, including consumer preferences for environmentally sustainable materials, improved performance of bioplastic resins relative to traditional plastics, and the introduction of commodity plastics produced from bio-based sources."
With a roughly 48 per cent share of global demand, Europe was the largest outlet for bioplastics in 2010, Ceresana said, followed by North America and Asia-Pacific. But over the next eight years, shares in demand of the individual world regions will shift significantly. "Because of dynamic growth in consumption and production, Asia-Pacific will expand its share of bioplastics demand; as a result, Asia-Pacific will almost draw level with Europe and North America," the report said. "In addition, South America will see strong growth, mainly as a result of massive increases in production in Brazil."
Although bags and sacks, as well as loose-fill, are expected to register further growth over the next years, packaging and films as well as automotive and electronics will see the biggest gain. "Due to an extended range of biodegradable products, these sectors are predicted to record annual increases of more than 30 per cent," the report said.
In 2010, most demand was accounted for by starch-based plastics, followed by polylactic acid (PLA), the report continued. "Excellent growth is forecast for the two leading biodegradable plastics, starch-based resins and PLA, both of which will more than double in demand through 2015. The fastest gains for biodegradable plastics, however, will be seen for polyhydroxy-alkanoate (PHA) resins, which are just entering the commercial market."
These gains will be fueled by the availability of commercial quantities of bio-based polyethylene from Braskem's 200,000 tons-per-year plant in Brazil, which opened in late 2010. "Two other bio-based polyethylene plants - as well as a bio-based polypropylene facility - are also in the planning stages and are expected to open around 2015," the report said.
Finally, the Ceresana report also noted significant regional differences in demand trends of the individual bioplastic grades. "While PLA demand in North America is projected to rise by 12 per cent per year by 2018, it will soar by almost 17 per cent per year in Asia-Pacific," the report said.
For more information on the study, click on this link.