Fuels, PVCs, polyols, enzymes headed up, as 4 new Outlooks appear for the advanced bioeconomy

September 2, 2014 |

better-fuels-aheadAdvanced fuels, PVC, Polyols, enzymes?

The outlook is strong, according to these research reports hot off the presses.

As we prepare for today’s opening of the POET-DSM cellulosic ethanol facility in Emmetsburg, Iowa — an event that is expected to temporarily double the population of the sleepy northern Iowa — it’s comforting to read in Freedonia’s latest World Biofuels Report that global biofuels is expected to top 115 million metric tons in 2018, up from from 96.30 MMT in 2013.

However, the authors warn that “Healthy growth will be experienced in all regions with the exception of North America, where conflicting government regulations and waning public support in the United States — the world’s largest market for biofuels — will limit advances.

Markets for Biofuels

Freedonia says that growth will continue to be driven by the three Es – energy security, emissions and economic opportunity — and government policies based off those goals. “Increases in biodiesel demand will outpace those of bioethanol, reflecting greater global growth in distillate fuel consumption,” the group says.

Surprisingly, the group touts that “strong growth in Western Europe and the European Union (EU) member countries of Eastern Europe will reflect EU efforts to source 20 percent of their energy needs from renewable resources by 2020,” despite recent severe cutbacks in EU targets. Freedonia does warn that “EU member countries may be forced to relax their position on minimizing the use of biofuels associated with indirect land use change.” Meanwhile, Asia/Pac and Latin America are seen as big growth drivers.

In the US, Freedonia warns that “while demand for other, more advanced biofuels will climb rapidly, it will not be sufficient to offset the weakness in ethanol and biodiesel demand. Outside of the US, a lack of new policy targets in Canada will limit growth there, while demand in Mexico will be held back by a lack of domestic production capacity, and biofuels’ higher cost.”

This Freedonia industry study, World Biofuels, presents historical demand and production data (2003, 2008, 2013) as well as forecasts for 2018 and 2023 by product, world region, and for 28 countries. The study also considers market environment factors, reviews technology, evaluates company market share and profiles 32 global industry participants.

Markets for Green Polyols

But this belated load of summer reading includes a hefty selection of research on renewable chemicals, too.

Consider the market in polyols, for example. “Green Polyol & Bio Polyol Market – Global Trends & Forecasts 2018 looks at Polyester & Polyether, Rigid/flexible PU Foam, Coating, Adhesive & Sealant as well as end-user segments — and includes more than 74 market data tables with 38 figures and spread through 191 pages.“

The report notes: “The demand for green & bio polyols in this market is driven from end user industries such as automotive, packaging and furniture. The automotive industry in North America is the largest consumer of green & bio polyols. Almost 70.0% vehicles manufactured by Ford Motor Company in North America contained seat components that use green & bio polyols. Cargill Inc. (U.S.), The DOW Chemical Company (U.S.), Johnson Controls Inc. (U.S.), etc are among the largest manufacturers of green & bio polyols in North America.”

They add: “Polyurethane rigid foams are currently the biggest application for green & bio polyols. Its consumption is expected to increase from 456.8 kilotons by 2018.”


Markets for PVC

Looking at the broader market where green is becoming important, GrandViewResearch.com has released “Global Polyvinyl Market Analysis And Segment Forecasts To 2020“.

The report’s authors note: “The global market for polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is expected to reach USD 79.11 billion by 2020. Increasing construction and infrastructure spending in emerging markets of Asia Pacific and Latin America is expected to remain a key driving factor for global PVC demand. In addition, growth of global automotive industry is also expected to have a positive influence on the market.

In tonnage, Global PVC demand was 38.50 million tons in 2013 and is expected to reach 53.81 million tons by 2020, growing at a CAGR of 5.0% from 2014 to 2020.

Volatile raw material prices coupled with the stringent regulatory scenario are expected to remain key challenges for market participants — and “the industry has shifted its focus towards developing bio-based alternatives to PVC which is expected to provide future opportunities for market participants.”

Construction emerged as the leading application segment and accounted for 55.7% of the total market volume in 2013. Electrical & electronics is expected to be the fastest growing application segment at an estimated CAGR of 5.4% from 2014 to 2020.

Regionally, Asia Pacific accounted for 58.1% of total market volume in 2013. The Middle East & Africa is expected to be the fastest growing region for polyvinyl chloride market at an estimated CAGR of 5.9% from 2014 to 2020.

Markets for Super Absorbent Polymers

Let’s look at another market where biobased is expected to play a growing role — that’s the super absorbent polymer (SAP) market, which is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.5% from 2014 to 2019 to reach a value of US$8.56 bln. SAP crystals, sometimes called super absorbent polymer balls, water absorbing crystals or slush powder, have numerous practical applications. These typically are cross-linked acrylic homo-polymers (usually sodium neutralized).

Diapers and hygiene product manufacturers use super absorbent polymers as the solidification medium in the products. In agriculture they are used to increase the water absorption and water retention in soils located in regions subject to drought. Hospitals utilize them to solidify and dispose-off bio-hazardous waste in suction canisters. Oil companies utilize them to solidify the liquid waste byproducts of oil and gas drilling and mining. Acrylic Acid is the main consumed raw material for the super absorbent polymer products.

The market is expected to be pushed by bio-based SAP and increasing income levels, and rapidly growing baby diaper market in the emerging regions. Due to increasing population and income levels in Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific, especially in India and China, the emerging geographies are expected to register maximum growth. 

SAP is widely used in hygiene products such as diapers and feminine hygiene products.

In addition, SAP finds use in agriculture, entertainment, personal care and construction industries. Ageing global population and expanding population of infants across the world are major demand generators for SAP in hygiene products. Technology advances are also facilitating use of super-absorbent polymers in an expanding range of end-use applications.

Markets for Enzymes

Let’s also look at the industrial enzyme market, where BCC Research has released, Global Markets for Enzymes in Industrial Applications. According to the report, this market was nearly $4.5 billion in 2012 and $4.8 billion in 2013. This is expected to reach $7.1 billion by 2018 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.2% during the years 2013 to 2018.

Widespread research in the field of industrial enzymes has revealed their usage in various industries. Many industries have now begun to explore the advantages of industrial enzymes in their productions and processes, leading to a sound market. The advancements, new product launches and their advantages over traditional industrial methods have positively influenced its market growth in the near future.

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