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Future Trends in the Emerging World of Bio-based Plastics

SpecialChem / Nov 23, 2009

Li Shen, Juliane Haufe and Martin K. Patel from Group Science, Technology and Society (STS) at the Copernicus Institute for Sustainable Development and Innovation, Utrecht University, The Netherlands reported earlier this year a detailed account on future of bio-based plastics. The SpecialChem Editorial Team is reporting below the key learnings of their work. However, the full report with additional details can be reviewed at : European Bioplastics Publications. The worldwide production of (primarily petrochemical) plastics is estimated to approx. 245 Mt in which bio-based plastics have only 1.4% share (3.36 Mt). According to company survey, which the authors conducted about the development of bio-based plastics sector as a whole, the bio-based plastics production will grow on average by 19% per year between 2007 and 2020. The resulting projection in 2020 (3.44 Mt) is basically identical with the projection for 2020, which is based on company announcements (3.45 Mt). The worldwide capacity of bio-based plastics according to company announcements will increase from 0.36 Mt in 2007 to 2.32 Mt in 2013 and to 3.45 Mt in 2020. This is equivalent to average annual growth rates of 36% between 2007 and 2013 and 6% between 2013 and 2020. Very substantial capacity additions totalling more than one Mt have been announced for the period 2009 to 2013.

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