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Asia holds largest bioplastics production capacity globally

Asia holds largest bioplastics production capacity globally, European Bioplastics, packaging, Asia, Europe
The Asian region is expected to hold 46.3% of the world’s bioplastic production capacity by 2016, according to industry association European Bioplastics.

In the market forecast report - published by European Bioplastics annually in cooperation with the Institute of Bioplastics and Biocomposites from the University of Hannover – the industry association says that the market of around 1.2 million tonnes in 2011 will see a fivefold increase in production volumes by 2016 to approximately 5.8 million tonnes.

The strongest growth is expected to be in the biobased, non-biodegradable bioplastics segment, in particular ‘drop-in’ solutions such as biobased versions of bulk plastics like PE and PET, that differ from conventional counterparts in their renewable raw material base.

Partially biobased PET is “leading the field”, accounting for about 40% of the global bioplastics production capacity, and is expected to extend this lead to more than 4.6 million tonnes by 2016, or 80% of the total bioplastics production capacity in three years’ time.

“But also biodegradable plastics are demonstrating impressive growth rates. Their production capacity will increase by two-thirds by 2015,” said Hasso von Pogrell, managing director of European Bioplastics. Leading this growth will be PLA and PHA, each accounting for 298,000 tonnes and 142,000 tonnes respectively.

“The enormous growth makes allowance for the constantly increasing demand for sustainable solutions in the plastics market,” added von Pogrell. “Eventually, bioplastics have achieved an established position in numerous application areas, from the packaging market to the electronics sector and the automotive industry.”

Geographic distribution of bioplastics production capacities
The European Bioplastics observed what it called “a disturbing trend” in the geographic distribution of production capacities.

While Europe and North America remain “interesting” as locations for research and development and also “important” as sales markets, establishment of new production capacities is favoured in South America and Asia.

In 2011, Asia held 34.6% of the global bioplastics production capacity, followed by South America’s 32.8%, Europe 18.5%, and North America 13.7%. Australia held the remainder 0.4%.

According to the industry association, Asia is expected to hold 46.3% of the world’s bioplastic production capacity by 2016.

Thailand is set to become one of the largest bioplastics producer globally, particularly after PTT Chemicals Plc revealed in October 2012 a collaboration with Japan’s Mitsubishi and US’s NatureWorks to develop a biorefinery.

In October 2011, PTT announced that it would acquire a 50% stake in NatureWorks for US$150 million, and work together to establish a second Ingeo plant in Thailand, tentatively scheduled for 2015.


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