Today, there is a bioplastic alternative for almost every conventional plastic material and corresponding application.

European Bioplastics Association press release on some of the published industry data. According to an industry trade group, global bioplastics production capacity is expected to grow significantly from around 2.3 million tons in 2022 to around 6.3 million tons in 2027, driven by strong developments in polymers such as PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoates), polylactic acid (PLA), bio-based PAs (polyamides), and the continuous growth of bio-based polypropylene (PP). Capacity growth is accelerated by demand growth and the emergence of more advanced applications and products. 

There are bioplastic alternatives for almost every conventional plastic material and application.
Bioplastics, which in this report included bio-based, non-biodegradable, and biodegradable plastics, currently represent less than 1% of the more than 390 million tons of plastic produced annually. Asia remains an important production center, with just over 40% of bioplastics currently produced in the region. Currently, a quarter of the production capacity is still located in Europe. 

However, the share of Europe and other regions of the world should decrease significantly in the next five years. In contrast, Asia is projected to exceed 60 percent of the product market share by 2027. European Bioplast officials also noted at a Dec. 9 conference in Berlin, Germany, that this global capacity forecast does not include China’s announcement of massive petroleum-based polybutene adipate cotephthalate (PBAT) capacity this year due to the “uncertainty” of these reports.

bioplastics 2023

China has also announced a number of PLA projects this year, and, like PBAT, it is difficult to assess whether these announcements will come to fruition. According to the New Institute, this year’s global PLA capacity is nearly 600 kilotons per year, which should increase to 2.39 million tons by 2027. Major PLA projects announced outside China last year included a 75 ktpa PLA plant by NatureWorks in Thailand, a 150 ktpa PLA plant by LG Chem Illinois Biochem in Illinois, USA, and TotalEnergies Corbion’s proposed 100 ktpa PLA capacity in Grandpuits, France. Futerro unveiled a newly designed 75 kilotons per year fully integrated biorefinery this month in Port-Jérôme’s industrial and port area, the Caux Seine agglomeration (Saint-Jean-de-Folleville parish), producing lactic acid and PLA.Futerro currently has a second PLA and lactic acid plant operating under a joint venture with BandF PLA in Anhui Province, China. For PHAs, according to the new Institute, have a global capacity of 86,500 ktpa this year, which is expected to grow to around 560-570 ktpa by 2027.Current PHA capacities mostly range from 1 ktpa to 5 ktpa. The world’s largest PHA producers include Danimer Scientific in the United States, Medpha in China, and TAIF Group in Russia. In the last 1-2 years, several new PHA startups have been launched around the world.

Another interesting piece of news published this month is a possible bio-based PET project based in the United States. According to a Dec. 14
In a Nikkei Asia article, Mitsui and Company will decide next year whether to build a bio-PET plant somewhere in the southeastern United States with a planned annual capacity of 400 ktpa. This type of bio-based plastic will become the subject of the largest production facility in the world. The investment is estimated at 550 million dollars, and if the project goes through, operations will begin by 2025. Mitsui and Company have reportedly signed a memorandum of understanding with New Jersey-based engineering and technology company Petron Scientech Inc. (PSI) to explore a joint venture. PSI and Mitsui plan to conduct various preliminary studies on the feasibility of bio-based ethylene plants. Research areas include CI impacts through life cycle analysis (LCA), engineering projects, and domestic and international supply chains and marketing opportunities. The planned facility would have bioethanol for the production of bio-MEG monomer. Monomers based on recycling could also be added to the raw material supply chain for PET production.


PSI stated that even without CO2 emissions, corn-based ethylene production costs in the US at 250–1000 tpa capacity are competitive with crack-based ethylene production at the same US capacity. The company noted that ethanol made from corn is the cheapest ethanol in the world, and the price of corn has remained stable compared to U.S. ethane, which has been five times more volatile than U.S. corn over the past five years. Ethane prices are expected to increase in the coming years due to increased pressure from the United States to reduce fracking. Meanwhile, corn prices are expected to remain relatively unchanged.
Futerro’s announcement this month and the possibility of a bio-PET facility in the US were not included in the New Institute’s 2027 capacity forecast. According to a European press release from Bioplast, packaging continues to be the largest area of use for bioplastics, accounting for
8% (1 million tons) of the total bioplastic market in 2022. The data also confirms that bioplastic materials are already used in many other areas, and the range of applications continues to diversify. In such segments as the automotive industry and transportation, agriculture and horticulture, and the electrical and electronic industry, their relative shares will continue to grow moderately in the coming years.
It will be interesting to see how the bioplastics industry develops in the next 3–5 years.


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