The leading growth category will be intermediate chemicals like adipic acid and lactic acid, with capacity growing from 2.0 million metric tonnes (MT) to 4.9 million MT in 2017, while the capacity of bio-derived polymers – currently at 1.1 million MT – will grow 18 per cent per year through 2017.
“The basic science of bio-based materials and chemicals has advanced to the point that dozens of chemicals can now be produced from multiple feedstocks, at costs that are competitive with petroleum, at least in theory and at scale,” said Julia Allen, Lux Research Analyst and the lead author of the report titled, “Cultivating Capacity for Bio-based Materials and Chemicals through 2017.” “As a result, bio-based material and chemical manufacturers continue to expand and diversify into new feedstock types, product types, and geographical areas,” she added.
•Specialty chemicals set for boom. Specialty chemicals like farnesene will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 46 per cent between now and 2017; companies set to benefit include players like Solazyme and Segetis.
•North America to emerge No. 1. Today, North America ranks fourth in global capacity, but will become a leader by 2017 as American start-ups like Gevobuild plants closer to home. Europe’s share of global capacity will drop from 37 per cent in 2005 to 14 per cent in 2017.
•Cellulosic feedstocks struggle. First-generation sugar/starch feedstocks – such as corn and sugarcane – will remain the dominant bio-based source. Cellulosic feedstocks will grow relatively slowly, and the rise of new sources like bio-oils and waste gas will help lowercellulosics’ share from 67 per cent to 27 per cent.
The report, titled “Cultivating Capacity for Bio-based Materials and Chemicals through 2017,” is part of the Lux Research Bio-based Materials and Chemicals Intelligence service.
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