Bio-Based Materials Can Replace Petro in $100B Worth of Polymers
By JIM LANE, Biofuels Digest
In Massachusetts, Lux Research released its latest report, “Bridging the Divide between Demands and Bio-Based Materials” and predicted that bio-based molecules are ready to take on petro-polymers in major applications like industrial parts, coatings and packaging.
Kalib Kersh, Lux Research analyst and the lead author of the report, states, “Bio-based material developers must aim for large, addressable markets, among which the biggest are composites and coatings, industrial manufactured intermediates and packaging.”
Kersh adds, “Of 38 demand areas we assessed, a few come out as top opportunities due to market size and opportunities to create value by solving end-user problems.”
- Coatings — with so many potential ingredients, coatings is a sizeable market and has extensive substitution opportunities for bio-based chemicals and materials to penetrate.
- Manufactured intermediate components, like foam, gears and laminates, have a diverse range of applied uses and potential.
- Textiles and fabrics are also open to materials innovation, but crafting a solution that end-users desire is critical to a material’s success.
- Automotive is another opportunity for materials developers, but the industry’s long qualification cycles prevent quick revenue.
- Bio-based plastics are ideal disposables. Bio-based plastics can be biodegradable, recyclable and less energy-intensive to process, and thus are often tough to beat as disposables, with volume applications such as medical, flatware, cleaning, bags, liners, bottles and others.
- Industrial intermediates represent the future. Industrial intermediate components target huge addressable markets, such as electronics, building materials, automotive, aerospace and consumer goods. New innovations are letting bio-based developers like Vertec Biosolvents and Crey Bioresins access these markets.
An opportunity for PTT, a polymer of 1,3-propanediol (PDO) in foams, highlights how shifting economics disrupt markets, by making familiar materials open to new applications.
The palette of bio-based drop-ins needs to expand, but options exist for developers to pursue. A slew of key intermediate developers are the gatekeepers to expanding bio-based drop-ins.
Bio-based and natural polymers need a performance boost and a reputation make-over.
“Sometimes, bio-based really is better,” Kersh writes, “but changing minds that bio-based materials can do more than be disposable will benefit from innovations on additives and hybrid polymers of conventional and various bio-based materials, like PBS, PLA and PHA.”
What’s your take? Please feel free to comment below! For more information, please visit www.businesswire.com/news/home/20121120005066/en/Bio-based-Materials-Replace-Petroleum-100-Billion-Worth. Copyright 2012; Biofuels Digest