Assessing innovator evolution in renewable materials and chemicals

Top Players Novamont, Arcadia, Elevance, Amyris Leading Dramatic Changes in Chemical Industry: As innovative startups in bio-based materials and chemicals reach the scale needed to make a commercial impact, Lux Research rates the field to pick the winners

A collection of innovative bio-based chemicals and materials start-ups —Novamont, Arcadia, Elevance, Amyris, Gevo and Solazyme, among them — is rapidly maturing and attaining scale, promising to hasten the biggest change seen in the global chemicals industry in decades, according to a Lux Research report, titled “Assessing Innovator Evolution in Renewable Materials and Chemicals.” To see which companies are best positioned to prosper in the current market environment, Lux Research applied its Lux Innovation Grid to rate 106 startups.

“Green materials have arrived, thanks to innovative start-ups,” said Kalib Kersh, Lux Research Analyst and lead author of the report. “Small technology start-ups are bringing new technologies for creating new bio-based chemicals and materials, and their growth is forcing corporations in the field to take notice.”

Lux analysts positioned companies active in bio-based materials and chemicals on the Lux Innovation Grid based on their Technical Value and Business Execution – companies that are strong on both axes reach the “Dominant” quadrant – and also assessed each company’s maturity, and provided an overall Lux Take. Among their conclusions:

  • Synthetic biology is making a big impact. Leading Dominant companies using synbio include Amyris, Gevo, Solazyme, and Codexis, and some relative newcomers like BioAmber, Myriant, and Allylix also reach the Dominant quadrant. The number of high-scoring synthetic biology players points to a strong role for synthetic biology in renewable chemicals and materials for the foreseeable future.
  • Thermochemical players reaping a similar bounty without bugs. By creating compounds via more scalable catalytic and conventional chemical methods, thermochemical technologies avoid pitfalls of bioprocessing. The top five Dominant innovators in this space – Virent, Ensyn, Avantium, Segetis and Elevance – make the field another one of the strongest in the bio-based materials and chemicals space.
  • Algae remain challenging. Over several decades now, algae startups have failed to deliver, struggling to attain commercial viability. No company earned an overall “Positive” rating from Lux analysts. However, Solix BioSystems differentiates itself with key partnerships and waste utilization, just reaching the Dominant quadrant on the Lux Innovation Grid.

Assessing Innovator Evolution in Renewable Materials and Chemicals,” is part of the Lux Research Bio-based Materials and Chemicals Intelligence service.

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