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Bioplastics projects set to prosper

Bioplastics projects set to prosper
22 June 2011 00:01 Source: ICIS Chemical Business The recession has been a wake-up call for chemical producers to push bioplastics development, resulting in a more positive outlook Andy Brice/London With the price of oil and petrochemicals soaring, bioplastics have become an increasingly viable proposition. As a result, the next decade will see a fundamental shift in global polymer production, with a group of new bio-based capacities being brought on stream. New forecasts from industry association European Bioplastics suggest that global bioplastics output will breach the 1m tonne/year mark this year, with production to more than double from 2010-2015. The study shows that bioplastics will total 1.7m tonnes/year within the next four years, up from around 700,000 tonnes/year in 2010. Central to this rapid growth is the myriad of applications that are using bioplastics rather than conventional petroleumbased polymers. European Bioplastics says life-cycle analyses show that bioplastics can reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 3070% compared with conventional plastics. "Bioplastics continue to be an exciting area of growth for the plastics industry," says Melissa Hockstad, vice-president, science, technology and regulatory affairs for plastic trade association SPI. "Although bioplastics occupy less than 1% of total plastics global usage, bioplastics continue to gain market strength." Total polymer consumption in Western Europe alone is about 50m tonnes/year. According to the Netherlands' University of Utrecht, bioplastics potentially could substitute as much as 42m tonnes/year of this total. CONSUMER AWARENESS CLIMBING "Throughout the recession, people have generally become more aware of sustainability as an issue, so that has been a key driver," adds Brian Balmer, industry principal at global business research and consulting company Frost & Sullivan. Balmer adds that a throwaway culture has been compounded by high oil costs and rising food and commodity chemical prices. Although the bioplastics industry is growing at about 20% globally each year, Balmer says the market still represents only 0.1% of the entire plastics sector, which means its market potential is vast. Balmer adds that even growth of 20% is perfectly sustainable for several years.

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The sector is indeed changing rapidly, says Jim Lunt, managing director of US consulting firm Jim Lunt & Associates: "The bioplastics market is growing fast, and there is a lot of activity to make conventional monomer building blocks from renewable resources for the production of polymers. There's going to be a leap in global capacity by 2020, mainly because you don't need to build a completely new plant, but only a fermentation unit or a catalytic cracking unit." Specifically, he says, there has been an expansion in demand primarily from compostables to durable bioplastics, which Lunt expects to continue in the years ahead. The former are commonly applied in single-use applications such as disposable bags or plastic cups, and cannot meet the high-performance demands of many automotive applications, electronics and household goods. "This is a natural progression because of better economics and pricing, and because of the lack of a composting infrastructure. The performance of compostables, in general, is also inferior to durables." Statistics from European Bioplastics suggest that durables will account for almost 40% of bioplastics this year, compared with around 12% in 2010. Despite the negative impact of the global economic downturn on spending and investment, the bioplastics sector is full of optimism. CONTINUED INVESTMENT

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The new plant could come on line in 2015."The companies developing these technologies have continued to invest in research and development.000 tonnes/year manufactured in late 2012. shows some of the latest bioplastic projects. DUPONT TATE & LYLE BIO PRODUCTS DuPont Tate & Lyle Bio Products . most of the new production facilities will be built in other regions. a marked improvement in 2010. producing up to 30m lbs/year (13.000 tonne/year bioplastics plant in Assisi. Louisiana. which will include the world's first worldscale methyl mercaptan integrated bio-methionine plant. Cereplast said it will be funded through local and regional financing with Italian institutions. This will be the company's second world-scale plant. and should also receive subsidies from various state and local agencies. The plant is being built at the Port of Lake Providence. but we have seen a massive drop-off from the venture capitalists and private equity firms.3 propanediol by 35%.000 tonne/year lactide plant in Rayong.THAILAND Netherlands-based specialty chemical producer Purac expects to start up its 75.a joint venture between DuPont and Tate & Lyle . This has continued so far in 2011 with several notable investments. US MYRIANT Last December. with interest starting to pick up in the market.000 tonnes/year). with an additional 50.000 tonne/year plant in the US.000 tonne/year bio-methionine plant and thiochemicals facility are expected to come on stream by the end of 2013. based on market demand. with commissioning taking place in the first half of 2013.THAILAND/MALAYSIA/ SINGAPORE US-based bioplastics producer NatureWorks is to build a polylactic acid (PLA) plant in either Thailand.announced plans to expand its Tennessee facility to increase production of bio-based 1. The expansion was expected to be complete by the second quarter of 2011. Myriant Technologies announced plans to start construction of the world's largest bio-based succinic acid plant in early 2011. tetrahydrofuran (THF).MALAYSIA or THAILAND France's Arkema and South Korea's CJ CheilJedang have agreed to build a bio-methionine and thiochemicals facility in Malaysia or Thailand. Construction is expected to start this year. US. Italy. DSM/ROQUETTE Dutch specialty chemical firm DSM is building a commercial scale. however. Global renewable chemistry company BioAmber also raised $45m (!30m) to help commercialize its biosuccinic acid and modified polybutylene succinate and build a large-scale plant in North America.000 tonnes/year facility in Nebraska.000 tonne/year green polyethylene (PE) plant in 2010. BRAZIL BRASKEM Having already started up a 200. notably Asia and South America. Malaysia or Singapore. PURAC . Italy. and will be operational in 2012. The partners will split the $400m investment equally. including the initial public offering of US-based renewable chemical and biofuel company Gevo.612 tonnes/year) of succinic acid. The facility will use ethanol from sugarcane and have a capacity of around 900m lb/year (408." added Balmer. Brazilian chemical producer Braskem is considering another plant in the country. It should be completed by late 2014 to early 2015. below. THAILAND/MALAYSIA/SINGAPORE NATUREWORKS . The initial investment is estimated to be about !10m-12m ($15m-18m). ITALY CEREPLAST US-based Cereplast is planning to build a 100.000 tonnes/year in mid-2013 under the second phase. The !45m ($59m) plant will produce monomers for bioplastics. The 80. The phased installation will initially see 50. The facility will initially produce succinic acid. The plant will be Europe's biggest bio-based succinic acid . Thailand. Some suggest Thailand could become a hub for the bioplastics industry in the coming years. Both interest and investment are picking up. BIOAMBER US-based BioAmber is finalizing its plans for a 20. according to NatureWorks. with a capacity comparable to its 140. There was. ARKEMA . Although Europe is the largest market for bioplastics. he said. in partnership with French company Roquette Freres. but future plans may include the capability to produce butanediol (BDO). with numerous projects announced over the past year. in the second half of 2011. The volume of investments and spending fell in 2009 by as much as 25-50% from the year before. gamma-butyrolactone and succinate esters on the site. The map. bio-based succinic acid plant in Cassano Spinola.

and is scheduled to come on stream in the second half of 2012. It aimed to start designing the plant at the end of the first quarter 2011. with a capacity of around 10. production capacity for its Ecoflex product was 14.000 tonnes/year by the end of 2012 or in early 2013.5m) monomer plant in Italy.000 tonne/year plant and would help to demonstrate the technology and produce samples of around one tonne. a derivative of Ecoflex.000 tonne/year biodegradable plastics plant at Ludwigshafen. Italy. By Andy Brice Related articles: 19 July 2011 23:59 Europe third-quarter BDO prices rise by !200/tonne on tight supply ICIS Services News Pricing Intelligence Dashboard ICIS Heren Analysis & Forecasting Supply & Demand Database Consulting ICB Magazine Training Conferences Plants & Projects ICIS China Advertise About ICIS About Us Contact Us Methodology Compliance New at ICIS FAQ Feedback Work For ICIS Useful Links Media Centre Free Market Updates Blogs Students Find a commodity Publishing Schedule © 2013 Reed Business Information Limited.plant. a subsidiary of Italian chemical company Gruppo Mossi & Ghisolfi. Terms & Conditions | Disclaimer | Privacy & Cookies . All Rights Reserved. which is expected to start in 2012. BASF German major BASF has started operations at its expanded 74. Genomatica is collaborating with Chemtex. GERMANY UHDE INVENTA-FISCHER Germany's Uhde Inventa-Fischer started up a 500 tonne/year polylactic acid (PLA) pilot plant in Guben in December 2010. Last December. BASF said it also would be ramping up compounding capacity for its Ecovio brand of biodegradable plastics. The company said the facility was an important step for a scale-up to a 60. to develop a complete process for the second generation bio-BDO.000 tonnes/year. the firm said construction would start early this year. Its biopolymer production capacity of 80. GENOMATICA US-based Genomatica will build a biomass-based butanediol (BDO) demonstration facility in Rivalta. Prior to the plant's expansion.000 tonnes/year. NOVAMONT Novamont has said that it is to expand its biopolymer production capacity with the construction of a new !50m ($72.000 tonnes/year will rise to 150.

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