Driven by growth in Brazil and the U.S., the capacity to manufacture bio-based chemicals and materials from advancing technologies, worldwide, will rise to around 7.4 million metric tons in 2018, which is more than three times from 2008 levels, as stated by Lux Research.
According to Mr. Andrew Soare, senior analyst of Lux Research, high growth is expected in North America, having 17 bio-based chemicals and materials facilities set to come online, many led by developing technology such as Butamax Advanced Biofuels’ and Elevance Renewable Sciences’ metathesis technology retrofit for the manufacturing of isobutanol. Some of the proposed units, plan to retrofit ethanol facilities that are existing, a move that is expected to speed up in near future.
Lux Research report states that lignocellulosics will be fastest-developing feed-stock. Sugar and starch will continue to dominate the feed-stocks, holding about 58% of total capacity, but volume fed by lignocellulosics, such as corn stover and risk husks, will register a speedy growth, at a massive 85% CAGR.
Intermediate chemicals, with 2.94 million metric tons, will account for around 40% share of the total capability. Polymers, such as bio-derived polyethylene and polylactic acid, will garner a 32% share with 2.39 million metric tons, but bio-based oils and derivatives will emerge the fastest, at the rate of around 38%, to cross 1 million metric tons in capacity in 2018.
Lux Research stated in the report that specialty chemicals, dominated by ethyl acetate, Dow ecolibrium plasticizer, butyl acetate, and farnesene, rapidly increased from almost no capacity in 2010 to around 582,000 metric tons in 2014. However, owing to the limited number of companies in this market, this segment will emerge slowly at 4% CAGR through 2018.