|Led by growing demand in Asia-Pacific and South America, global bioplastics market will reach revenues of more than US$2.8 bln in 2018, reflecting average annual growth rates of 17.8%, as per market research firm Ceresana. The global bio-plastics 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. Bio-plastics 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% share, Europe was the largest outlet for bioplastics in 2010, followed by North America and Asia-Pacific. Over the next eight years, shares in demand of the individual world regions will shift significantly. Two regions are expected to considerably influence the bioplastics market. 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. In addition, South America will see strong growth, mainly because of massive increases in production in Brazil.
Demand trends of the individual types of bioplastics show significant regional differences. While polylactic acid (PLA) demand in North America is projected to rise by 12% pa, it will soar by almost 17% pa in Asia-Pacific. In 2010, most demand was accounted for by starch-based plastics, followed by PLA. Other bio-based plastics (PHA/PHB, cellulose, PBS) as well as fossil-based biodegradable plastics accounted for just less than 17% of global demand. Accordingly, biodegradable plastics are dominating the bioplastics market with a roughly 92% share. Non-biodegradable plastics based on renewable resources are forecasted to increase their market share from 8% in 2010 to more than 47% by 2018. The report projects how product innovations, new production capacities, legislative changes, and growing environmental awareness will impact the market. Technical progress in production and significant growth in capacities will allow manufacturers to lower prices and therefore to further increase the competitiveness of bio-plastics against conventional plastics. More growth prospects are provided by new products: The extended product range allows for using bio-plastics in an increasing number of application areas.
Most important buyers worldwide currently include manufacturers of bags and sacks. Loose-fill ranks second, closely followed by packaging and films. The automotive and electronic industries as well as other applications, e.g. catering products, hygiene products, textiles, and sports & leisure products, account for just less than one fifth of global demand. Although bags & sacks and 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 product range of biodegradable products, these areas are predicted to record annual increases of more than 30%. Gains will be fueled by the availability of commercial quantities of bio-based polyethylene from Braskem's 200,000 tpa 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. While PLA demand in North America is projected to rise by 12% pa by 2018, it will soar by almost 17% pa in Asia-Pacific.