Consumer products that are more durable and lightweight will be the key factor boosting global polyethylene and polypropylene demand beyond 2010, as per Massimo Covezzi, senior vice president for LyondellBasell Industries Research and Development division, as reported in Platts.
In 2000, the combined global capacity of polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) was just below 100 mln tons. Combined global capacity of PE and PP is estimated to exceed 125 mln tons by the end of 2010. One key driver to this growth is the advancement made by the automobile industry in fuel tank construction. The European Union, North America, Japan and China have been switching from using metal to construct automobile fuel tanks, to using high density PE. The same drive moving towards lightweight material can also be seen in the global packaging industry, Covezzi added, as plastic packaging weight is significantly lower than traditional packaging material such as glass or metal.