12 March 2012 00:00 [Source: ICB]
With the first wave of biopolymer production now reaching commercial scale, the news flow for further such projects is focused mainly on Europe - especially Italy - and the Americas.
With abundant feedstocks of sugarcane, corn and biomass, it is not surprising that activity remains strong in Brazil and the US. In Europe, Italy has used tax breaks and is promoting the use of compostable plastic bags to stimulate the industry.
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Demand for bioplastics is expected to shoot up spectacularly in this decade. According to US consultancy The Freedonia Group, global demand for biodegradables and bio-based plastics will more than triple to exceed 1m tonnes, worth $2.9bn (€2.1bn), in 2015.
Rising petroleum costs will allow some bioplastic resins to reach price parity with conventional plastics. Excellent growth is projected for the two leading biodegradable plastics, starch-based resins and polylactic acid (PLA), which are expected to more than double in demand through 2015. Polyhydroxy-alkanoate (PHA) resins, which are now entering the commercial market, are expected to show the greatest gains.
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