The blog is working on a list of top posts of 2011 but it might take awhile given that the blog had almost 200 posts to look into. In the meantime, let’s look at the longer-term future of the industry.
The blog had gathered several consulting reports about the bio-based chemicals sector and it seems all are in agreement that this industry will remain strong and that no bubble bursting are seen on the short-to-mid-term horizon (we hope so!)
According to Lux Research’s recent report on bio-based chemicals and materials, this industry is expected to grow to $19.7bn in 2016 as its global capacity jumps 140%. Lux Research said that it has listed down 151 global facilities and their intended operational dates, products and capacities. These capacities are expected to climb to 9.2m tons in the next five years.
Some of Lux Research’s key findings include:
- Bioplastics will slow down in terms of expansion though capacity is still expected to grow 57% from 2011 to 2016. From 2006 to 2011, bioplastics have experienced explosive growth of 1,500% to a current aggregate capacity of 470,000 tons, and a 10.9% share of all bio-based materials.
- Cellulose polymers and starch-based plastics remain dominant but their share of total capacity will slide from 45% in 2011 to 21% in 2016. Cellulose polymers and starch-derived materials still rule because they are durable, strong and easily biodegradable: They’ve been widely used in high-performance plastic coatings, buttons and yarns, and even early LEGO bricks.
- By 2016, there will be consolidation – both within sectors of bio-based materials manufacturing, and regionally, as leaders buy up technologies and access to feedstock. Momentum derived from existing capacity — ethanol from sugarcane ethanol being converted to ethylene and propylene, for instance — will influence regional specialization.
Pike Research, meanwhile, reported that the use of green chemistry is expected to save the chemical industry $65.5bn by 2020. Pike Research included in their definition of green chemistry pathways and industrial activities such as waste minimization in the chemical production process, replacement of existing products with less toxic alternatives, and the shift to renewable, non-petroleum based feedstocks.
Green chemistry markets, according to Pike Research, represents a market opportunity of $2.8bn in 2011 reaching to $98.5bn by 2020. By 2020, Pike Research expects that the total chemical industry will expand to $5.3 trillion in annual revenues.
In July, BCC Research reported the global market for green technologies is expected to be worth $312bn in 2015 from $200bn in 2010, showing a growth rate of 9.2%/year. The market research firm broke down green technologies into nine segments – combined heat and power, windows, insulation, hybrid vehicles, waste-to-energy, lighting, ground-source heat pumps, biomass and smart meters.
According to BCC Research, green technology is often referred to as “energy efficiency defined as an energy converting device undergoing a technological change that enables it to provide the same service while using less energy.”