A new report from nova-Institute indicates that global production capacity of biopolymers grew to 6.6 million tonnes in 2016 or a 4% increase over 2015 levels. Revenue from biopolymer production was 13 billion Euros in 2016 compared to 11 billion Euros in 2014.
Growth in the biopolymer market has slowed over the last few years and is expected to remain at around 4% annually to 2021, says Bio-based Building Blocks and Polymers – Global Capacities and Trends 2016 – 2021. By the end of the study period, nova-Institute indicates global production capacity for biopolymers will hit 8.5 million tonnes.
The main reasons for this slower increase in capacity are low oil prices, poor political support and a slower than expected growth of the capacity utilization rate.
The report notes that not all bio-based polymers are biodegradable, but says there is strong political support for such polymers in the packaging sector in Italy and France. In this sector, the global demand for biodegradable packaging still shows a double digit growth. Additional demand could come from the increasing microplastic problem (marine littering), but so far biodegradable plastics have not benefitted from this debate.