In the modern wave of industrialization, plastic has scored unparalleled venues of application. Owing to its lucrative traits such as lightweight and flexibility, and abundant availability of its feedstock, plastic has immense scope of production and usage in various sectors such as packaging, automotive and construction. But, plastic as its non-biodegradable and a by-product of petrochemical industry has witnessed tremendous criticism because of severely impacting the environment. As a consequence, stringent regulations by elite organizations such as the United Nations has enforced plastic ban on various industrial, as well public usage. But, existing high usage of plastic in various industries cannot eradicated easily, hence the adoption of ecological variants such as biodegradable and bio-plastics is growing at an unprecedented rate. As a consequence, the demand for bio-BDO (1.4-Butanediol), an industrial chemical is extensively rising as a solvent and as a building block to manufacture plastics, elastic fibres and polyurethanes, which is gaining a substantial traction in the market. Until lately, BDO was only obtained from fossil sources, but in 2016, an Italian biochemical company Novamont has invested in a production facility that develops the chemical from renewable sources through fermentation. The resultant commodity, bio-BDO, is a 100% bio-based drop-in replacement for fossil-based BDO. As this bio-product has similar characteristics of its fossil-based chemical counterpart, the well-established market size of the fossil-based BDO stands out as a potential market for bio-based BDO. The global Bio-BDO market size was evaluated to be $552.9m in 2018. BDO is in high demand for a wide range of applications besides plastics, in sectors such as textiles, leather, pharmaceutical, automotive and consumer goods. Moreover, ecological sustainability of products and commitments by market players towards the same is creating opportunities in the global bio-BDO market progressing at a CAGR of 5.64% during the forecast period 2019-2025.
In 2016, Novamont Opened World’s First Plant to Produce Bio-Based Butanediol at Industrial Scale:
Novamont, an Italian biochemical company made an investment of approximately $113m in 2016, to set-up world’s first plant (Mater – Biotech) to produce bio-based butanediol at industrial scale. Since, the company majorly deals in biodegradable and compostable bioplastics production, company’s bio-based BDO empowers manufacturing of their fourth generation bioplastics, elevating renewable constituent from about 35% to more than 60%. The company has been leveraging the implementation of the EU 2015/720 Directive that took effect in 2017, and mandated decrease in consumption of lightweight plastic carrier bags and introduced minimum standards in Italian legislation, concerning bio-based content of lightweight plastic carrier bags: 40% as of January 2018, 50% as of January 2020, and 60% as of January 2021. With the integration of bio-BDO in its bioplastics, the company can meet these minimum requirements, which gives them a competitive advantage in the market. As Novamont’s bio-BDO results in a 60% greenhouse gas reduction, along with an increase of bio-based content of downstream bioplastics from about 35%-60%, the European market is well dominated by this chemical company. In 2016, sales quantity was just over 5,000 tons of bio-BDO produced in the EU, but simultaneously imports were recorded to be close to 32,000 tons into the EU from other countries. This clearly depicts the bourgeoning bio-BDO market demand in EU.
North America Dominates Global Bio-BDO Market–The U.S. Expanding Plastic Trade:
With further analysis of bio-BDO regional markets, North America reckoned to be the most lucrative region, with a substantial 39% of market share in 2018. A pivotal factor impacting the affluence of this region is rampant expansion of plastic production and export value in the U.S. To due to The U.S. has set exemplary targets to increase its plastic production and exports. The development is a well planned strategy to capitalize over the burgeoning demand for polyethylene fueled by anticipated increases in uptake of disposable plastics. Application of plastic is rampantly increasing packaged F&B market in developed countries, and growing consumer markets in developing countries and the U.S is all set to leverage the demand. As per the Surfrider Foundation, the U.S. plastic production facilities will witness rising production rate, by approximately 50% in the next 10 years, and tripling the amount of plastic exports by 2030, that includes 400 new plastic processing facilities. Since majority of the U.S. manufactured plastics are planned to be exported to developing countries with inefficient waste management services that may not be properly equipped to handle non bio-degradable solid waste, the demand for production of bio-plastics is abundant in the U.S. market to sustain its supremacy in exports. Moreover, as per the Plastic Oceans Organization, more than 8 million tons of plastic are dumped into the oceans every year, and the production rate of plastic per year is approximately 300 million tons. Owing to such alarming circumstances, the UN has launched a campaign #CleanSeas to reduce marine litter by 2022. Growing consumer awareness regarding global warming and government legislations such as ban on plastic bags to reduce carbon footprints has escalated the worldwide application of biodegradable plastics, eventually creating demand for bio-BOD.
‘Lightweight’ Trend in the Automotive Sector is Creating Substantial Demand for Bio-BDO Derivative Polybutylene terephtalate (PBT)
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), transportation is accountable for a substantial share of 24% of direct CO2 emissions from fuel combustion. For transport efficiency to be compliant with the Sustainable Developments Scenario (SDS), energy intensity (total energy consumption per unit of GDP) must undergo a downfall of 3.4% annually on an average during the timeline of 2019-2030. This has commenced several developments in the automotive sector pertaining to alternative fuels for lower emission and ‘lightweight’ of the automotive original equipment for enhanced fuel efficiency. As a consequence, plastics and polymers as steel substitutes and key to the future of light weighting and recyclability factor are gaining tremendous scope of application in automotive. But at the same time, being derivatives of fossil fuels like petroleum, it is hindering the progress towards preset sustainable developments goals. This epidemic is being absolutely leveraged by the bio-BDA market, as bio-BDA derivative PBT made of renewable sources finds extensive scope of application in the production of engineered plastics for automotive OEMs. Therefore, automotive sector is the fastest growing application vertical in the global bio-BDA market, progressing with an application CAGR of 5.99%, going through 2025. Considering the enormous production of motor vehicles that was 98.9 million in 2017, as per European Automobile Manufacturers Association, and increasing sales of electric vehicles that reached an unprecedented 5.1 million units in 2018, automotive sector is likely to sustain its lead as the leading application vertical in the upcoming years.
‘TOYOTA’ – The Largest Car Manufacturing Company Implements Bioplastics:
Japanese automotive giant Toyota is a leader in adopting bioplastics which is accustomed to employ biobased polyesters, biobased PET, and PLA-blends in its manufacturing procedure. Toyota has fixed an objective of substituting 20% by weight of all petroleum plastics in its automotive by bioplastics. Toyota SAI and Toyota Prius models already feature a number of bioplastic applications such as headliners, sun visors, or floor mats. This stance by leading automotive manufacturer depicts the transition of automotive OEMs towards bio plastics that can be a disruptive factor for the global bio-BDO market share.
Bio-BDO Market Companies:
Some of the key players operating in the global Bio-BDO market are Novamont S.p.A, Huntsman Corporation, Croda International PLC, Clariant AG, Archroma Management GmbH, Bozzetto Group, TANATEX Chemicals B.V., COVESTRO AG, DyStar Singapore Pte Ltd., NICCA Chemical Co., Ltd., Wacker Chemie AG, and The Chemours Company.
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