My ICIS colleague Franco Capaldo was able to attend the 5th European Bioplastics Conference held in Dusseldorf, Germany, last week. According to the European Bioplastic Association (EBA), more than 170 companies attended the event with 70% of the participants came from Europe, 20% from Asia, and most of the rest are from the Americas.
Hasso von Pogrell, the association’s managing director, noted that there are an increase from established chemical companies beginning to enter the bioplastics industry mostly led from changes in consumer behavior. The year 2010 is said to be a pretty good year for the bioplastic industry, which has seen good sales despite the financial crisis.
An executive from packaging films group Innovia Films expects 2011 to remain positive or even be better than 2010. The company noted its own sales growth rate for 2010 at 35% year-on-year, which the executive said is not untypical of other bioplastic producers.
“A large number of companies in the bioplastics industry decided during 2010 to start up the projects they had been previously planning. If you look around this year, there has been more investment in the (bio) polymers that have been around, more products released from producers and you will have seen a lot more new and bigger players on the block.” – Innovia
Several companies announced recent investments at the conference such as Purac’s 75,000 tonne/year lactide plant in Rayong, Thailand, which is said to be on track to start up in the second half of 2011; Novamont which plans to expand its biopolymer production capacity from 80,000 tonnes/year to 150,000 tonnes by the end of 2012 or in early 2013: and Uhde Inventa-Fischer, which just started up its 500 tonne/year polylactic acid (PLA) pilot plant in Guben, Germany.
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