• A long-term ethylene analysis categorizes the transformation of the global ethylene market into three types of market positions; locations supportive of new export-oriented ethylene investments based on advantaged feedstocks like North America, Middle East, Russia and The Caspian; locations supportive of new ethylene investments which have higher costs due to reliance on naphtha feedstocks but with very high levels of local demand growth like China, India and Southeast Asia; and locations of existing aging assets with a high cost basis that will be subject to rationalization, consolidation, and specialization like Europe, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. Ethylene-producing assets that have access to low cost gas feedstocks, such as the ones in North America, will lead competition in the next few decades. Read more in Emerging markets to produce 50% global ethylene, depending on local access to feedstocks, demand
  • Growing population compounded with increasing food demand has put pressure on agricultural productivity, as arable land shrinks globally. Agricultural films aid in increasing the agricultural productivity and improve crop quality, reduce soil compaction and erosion, increase soil temperature, provide nutrients, suppress growth of weeds, support seed germination, and protect against UV rays. Agricultural films can be classified based on their applications as: greenhouse film, mulch film and silage film. They are generally manufactured using polyethylene, polyvinyl chloride and ethylene vinyl alcohol polymer. Linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) and low density polyethylene (LDPE) dominate the overall agricultural films market. Read more in Driven by greenhouse, mulch applications, global agricultural films market estimated over US$7 bln by 2017
  • Plastics are known for their durability, aesthetics, high performance and easy handling. In building and construction, plastic is mostly used in plumbing fixtures, insulation, doors, windows, bathroom units, railings etc. After the packaging industry, the building and construction industry is the largest consumer of plastics like acrylics, polyethylene, polycarbonates, extpanded polystyrene, polyvinyl chloride, etc. The main advantages of using plastics in building and construction are sustainability, innovation, cost efficiency, recyclability and low maintenance. The global market for building and construction plastics is expected to grow at a substantial rate. Read more in Demand for building and construction plastics to grow at 7% pa uptil 2019 globally
  • A method to carry out large-scale manufacturing of everyday objects using a fully degradable bioplastic isolated from shrimp shells has been developed. This development is better than most bioplastics in the market today, as it poses no threat to trees or competition with the food supply. Instead of being developed from cellulose like most bioplastics, this is made from chitosan, a form of chitin, which is a powerful player in the world of natural polymers and the second most abundant organic material on Earth. The material can also be modified for use in water and also easily dyed. This advance validates the potential of using bioinspired plastics for applications that require large-scale manufacturing. Read more in Fully compostable bioplastic made from shrimp shells
  • The global bioplastics market is expected to surpass Euro 13,700 mln in 2016, driven by high consumer acceptance, danger posed by climate change, increasing price of fossil materials. High technical substitution potential compared to conventional materials and their environmental benefits will be the main growth drivers of this sector. Several research projects are being developed to overcome the limitations of these materials. Bioplastics find application in a wide range of market segments like packaging, agriculture, construction, and automotive. The growth deterrents include high resin costs. Also, the use of arable land and edible crops to produce bioplastics is increasingly perceived as an undesirable development that could increase food prices and contribute to food shortages. To know more, read Global production of bioplastics estimated to grow by 400% in 2016
  • A new record in the efficiency of transparent solar cells has been set by a development that allows transparency levels up to 40% with an efficiency of over 7%. The transparent film could find application with glass manufacturers for both building integration (BIPV) and car makers for car roofs. The production of the transparent film is possible with the introduction of transparent conductive layers at the front- and back-side of the solar cells. In another development, transparent solar cells that could turn everyday products such as windows and electronic devices into power generators, without altering how they look or function, that absorb only infrared and ultraviolet light. Read more in Developments in transparent solar cells help achieve record efficiency, generates power from everyday surfaces