26 Apr 2018

Technavio: Global Bioplastics and Biopolymers Market – Emergence of Bio-based and Renewable Raw Materials to Boost Growth

New market research report examines global bioplastics and biopolymers market from 2018-2022

Bildschirmfoto 2018-04-20 um 11.53.40

Technavio has published a new market research report on the global bioplastics and biopolymers market from 2018-2022. (Graphic: Business Wire)

Technavio market research analysts forecast the global bioplastics and biopolymers market to grow at a CAGR of nearly 13% during the period 2018-2022, according to their latest report.

This market research report segments the global bioplastics and biopolymers market into the following end-users (packaging and consumer goods), types (bio-PE, bio-PET, PLA, and biodegradable starch blends), and key regions (the Americas, APAC, and EMEA). It provides an in-depth analysis of the prominent factors influencing the market, including drivers, opportunities, trends, and industry-specific challenges.

This report is available at a USD 1,000 discount for a limited time only: View market snapshot before purchasing

In this report, Technavio analysts highlight the emergence of bio-based and renewable raw materials as a key factor contributing to the growth of the global bioplastics and biopolymers market:

Emergence of bio-based and renewable raw materials

The global biopolymers market is anticipated to amass benefits from the use of bio-based raw materials such as starch and vegetable crop derivatives. The dependence on petroleum-based plastics is slowly decreasing with the increased use of bioplastics in numerous applications such as packaging and domestic goods. But, these sources are expected to get exhausted in the next 30 to 40 years. Although new bio-based products, which reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are preferred, the process and product are required to be time and cost-effective.

A key challenge faced by the petroleum-dependent industries is the volatile prices that can be overcome by the establishment of well-developed, self-sufficient, and state-of-the-art integrated bio-refineries. The effective use of biomass such as grass, trees, plants, and other organic materials such as animal meat and other tissues, which decompose by the activities of microorganisms will help in building a bio-based economy. This has led to the shift in the preference of plastic manufacturers toward the production of biopolymers based on renewable sources.

According to a senior analyst at Technavio for plastics, polymers, and elastomers, “The raw materials used in the production of biopolymers are renewable in origin and are available in abundance across the globe when compared with petroleum and fossil-based raw materials. Thus, the global outlook for bio-based raw materials for polymers is significantly more positive than that of petroleum-based raw materials.

Technavio’s sample reports are free of charge and contain multiple sections of the report such as the market size and forecast, drivers, challenges, trends, and more.

Global bioplastics and biopolymers market segmentation

Of the two major end-users, the packaging segment held the largest market share in 2017, accounting for nearly 49% of the market. This segment is anticipated to witness steady growth during the forecast period.

EMEA was the leading region for the global bioplastics and biopolymers market in 2017, accounting for a market share of more than 38%. This region is anticipated to dominate the market through the forecast period.

(Source: news.bio-based.eu/technavio-global-bioplastics-and-biopolymers-market-emergence-of-bio-based-and-renewable-raw-materials-to-boost-growth/)

24 Apr 2018

Thought-provoking report says UK is well placed to lead the way in developing bioplastics

The UK has an opportunity to lead the way in tackling global plastic waste by becoming a world leader in bioplastics, according to a new report titled Bio-based & Biodegradable Plastic in the UK.

The report by bioeconomy consultants NNFCC concludes that recycling alone is insufficient, and bioplastics – plastics made from plants instead of oil, many of which are biodegradable - are crucial to addressing the waste problem. It also shows that solving this global problem represents a significant economic opportunity for the UK.

The plastics challenge

Plastics have many advantages – they are lightweight, durable and easy to shape – so are critical to industries from packaging to cars and planes. But they come at huge environmental cost: requiring 3.5 million tonnes of oil every year for production in the UK, taking centuries to decompose, creating landfill, polluting oceans and blighting landscapes.

Recycling is widely advocated as the solution, but the report highlights the limits of this approach. Although most plastics can be recycled in theory, the majority are not. Some 50% of plastic packaging items don’t have viable recycling pathways[1]. Food packaging needs to be cleaned before recycling which is often not possible (street food, music festivals, etc). Despite best efforts to promote recycling, plastic continues to enter and damage natural and marine environments.

The report also rejects calls for an outright plastics ban, which would see them replaced with traditional materials such as glass. It cites calculations that replacing plastic with such materials would increase EU greenhouse gas emissions by 61%, largely due to costs of transporting more weight.

It concludes that a shift to plastics produced from renewable materials and designed to be biodegradable, would address the environmental problems with plastics while retaining their benefits.

A global solution driven by a UK economic opportunity

The report argues that the UK is well placed to lead the way in developing bioplastics to alleviate this pressing challenge. It also shows that it is strongly in its economic interests to do so. With the right support from government and industry, bioplastics could create 34,000 jobs and contribute £1.92 billion to the UK economy in the next decade[2].

The UK has a captive market. It is the fourth largest consumer of plastics in Europe, and a major plastics exporter, with many of its customers already demanding alternatives.

It also has the skills to innovate in bioplastics thanks to a decade of investment in its world leading universities and companies at the cutting edge of biotechnology. The plastics industry is a major UK employer – skills and capabilities that easily transfer to bioplastics production.

Further, the report is clear that the UK has sufficient waste biomass from agriculture to sustain a thriving bioplastics industry.

Adrian Higson, Lead Consultant Bio-based Products, at NNFCC says: “Bio-based plastics are far less carbon-intensive than oil-based plastics. Because they are produced from plants that have sequestered atmospheric carbon dioxide during their growth, they can help reduce CO2 emissions associated with oil-based plastics.

“With the right investment in scaleup facilities, the UK could be the world leader in plastics, only this time it would export sustainable, biodegradable plastics, that help alleviate plastic waste.

“Bio-based plastics are ripe for innovation. If the UK doesn’t capitalise on the opportunity, UK manufacturers will become reliant on foreign imports for bioplastics.”

Seizing the opportunity

Thanks to investment in research, many bioplastics now have comparable functionality to oil-derived plastics. To turn innovative ideas into sustainable solutions, the report asserts that UK government support is needed for the transition of the UK’s ground-breaking R&D into industrial scale production. This includes effective policy, new open access production scale-up facilities, and support to attract private investment in bioplastics. This makes bioplastics cost-competitive and therefore encourage the adoption of greener alternatives.

This has many economic and environmental advantages: reducing plastic waste in oceans and the natural environment, reduction of CO2 emissions associated with oil- based plastics, growth of a globally important industry in the UK, and job creation in Britain’s industrial heartland. The UK already aims to achieve zero avoidable plastic waste by the end of 2042, bioplastics are crucial in achieving this.

Paul Mines, CEO of Biome Bioplastics, a UK company developing ‘intelligent, natural plastics’, was consulted in the development of the report. 
“Reducing plastic waste is a global imperative and it’s encouraging that demand for cleaner alternatives is now being driven by the public, thanks to widespread publicity in popular media about the damaging impact of plastics on the environment,” he said. “The UK is well placed to meet this demand given that it is a world leader in bioplastics research and early stage demonstrations. If government and industry collaborate effectively, this has the potential to scale to meet industrial level demand.”

(Source: www.bioplasticsmagazine.com/en/news/meldungen/20180419Thought-provoking-report-says-UK-is-well-placed-to-lead-the-way--in-developing-bioplastics.php)

26 Mar 2018

Greenovate! Europe brings innovation to the bio-based economy

The project Greenovate! Europe provides support services to innovative research laboratories, technology developers and investors in the bio-based economy sector.

Bio-based economy is not the only field Greenovate! Europe possess expertise in, they support many other technologies and services that have a positive effect on the environment in transport, water, electricity and sustainable buildings.

They currently offer the experience of over 500 innovation advisors and 2,000 technical experts from 14 European countries.

Their involvement in the bio-based economy sees them support the development of bio-based materials, processes and products throughout their life-cycle whilst their expertise also covers life-cycle assessments, market analysis, business development and dissemination and communication.

Innovation in the bioeconomy conference 2018

Greenovate! Europe and will be hosting, Innovation in the bioeconomy conference alongside ButaNexT.

Having supported and worked with many bioeconomy projects, Greenovate! Europe has organised a conference to overcome the barriers for sustainable bio-based products and biofuels.

The event will be taking place in Brussels on the 12th April 2018 and will be focused on the sustainable use and widespread uptake of biomass. The one-day event will include talks from some leading industry experts on topics including: Market uptake of agricultural biomass, and European regulatory framework for the future of the bio-economy and the biofuels. There will also be a poster session hosting several other EU-funded projects in the same field before closing the day with a fruitful panel discussion which will address market barriers.

Greenovate! Europe invite you all to attend, share your views and discuss how to help the future bio-based solutions.

For more information on the event and how to register, click here!

22 Mar 2018

New biotechnology equipment receives huge support

On 19th February 2018, Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant (BBEPP) in Ghent, Belgium hosted an event to celebrate their new state-of-the-art infrastructure and equipment for companies that want to scale up bio-based processes at an industrial scale.

An investment of €9,36 million was made to BBEPP inaugurated by Europe, Flanders, Province of East-Flanders and the City of Ghent. The money was to go towards the new research infrastructure for gas fermentation and downstream processing that will make Flanders the worldwide testbed for innovative and sustainable technologies.

Gas fermentation is an innovative technology for converting waste gases such as CO2 and syngas into a wide range of chemicals using micro-organisms. It is a sustainable technology with great potential to stop global warming.

The event saw an outstanding 700 participants attend, confirming the need for such facilities that help industry to develop more environmentally friendly and efficient processes.

The task force at BBEPP also plays a huge role in the Rehap project as they are responsible for upscaling the extraction of tannin and lignin from bark residues for the evaluation of bio-based resins in the Rehap project. The new, larger equipment will increase the capacity two-fold. (A more detailed description of BBEPP's involvement with Rehap can be found on the Rehap website)

Flemish Minister for Economy and Innovation Philippe Muyters:

The need for this new scale-up infrastructure was clear: companies are anxious to work with the Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant. Understandably, as this pilot plant lowers barriers for companies in two ways. They are a key factor for developing innovative processes at an industrial scale, helping companies to avoid risky investments. Even better is that they are also an ideal promoter of cooperation: companies, research centres and other partners meet in the pilot plant and are encouraged to think together about sustainable solutions for the bio-based economy.

Christophe Peeters, Schepen voor Innovatie van de Stad Gent:

The Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant is an important link in the bio-based ecosystem of Ghent and is crucial for the further development of Ghent as a knowledge region and the expansion of our very strong cleantech and biotech cluster. The conversion of waste materials into raw materials and the closing of production loops are cornerstones for a sustainable innovation policy: in view of the importance of this pilot facility, the City of Ghent is happy to co-invest in its expansion.

Martine Verhoeve, Gedeputeerde van de Provincie Oost-Vlaanderen:

From the very beginning in 2009, the provincial government strongly supported the construction of the pilot plant. We strongly believed in the potential of pilot infrastructure for the bio-based economy. Today, it is fantastic to see how the pilot plant is supported by many partners and realises unique collaborations. We have every reason to be proud of such a state-of-the-art research infrastructure in our region.

(Source: www.bbeu.org/pilotplant/press-release-19-02-2018-europe-flanders-province-of-east-flanders-and-the-city-of-ghent-inaugurate-an-investment-of-e9-36-million-at-the-bio-base-europe-pilot-plant/)

16 Mar 2018

Parliament vote on biomass future

On 17th January 2018 the European Parliament voted to continue backing bioenergy throwing a significant lifeline to the biomass industry.

The biomass and bionenergy industries saw the vote as a positive step with the European biomass association AEBIOM secretary general, Jean-Marc Jossart adding, “This approach will allow solid biomass to keep playing a key role in the European Energy transition.”

The importance of biomass was continued to be recognised as the biggest form of renewable energy in Europe as the vote significantly backed the biomass-to-energy sector. The favour won a 35% renewable energy target by 2030 for the second Renewable Energy Directive (RED II).

A ‘risk-based’ approach, which was supported in the vote, takes into account existing legislation and tools on sustainable forest management and highlights the EU’s determination to use the potential of biomass materials for future sustainability. Woody biomass is a readily available alternative to fossil fuels and this step recognises the how important forests are in tackling climate.

At Rehap, the project is aimed at turning agricultural and forestry waste into novel materials for the green building sector and has the potential to have a big impact on the fossil fuel emissions of the construction industry. The project is looking to reduce CO2 emissions by 54 per cent using agroforestry waste as a petroleum-based alternative.

Although the decision is not yet legally binding as Parliament will need to negotiate the plan with national governments, for Rehap and for the many other projects in the bioenergy and biomass sectors, the recent policy update offers a clearer future on sustaining forest biomass sourcing as a way of reaching the EU’s energy efficiency targets.

23 Feb 2018

The future of the bioeconomy

The Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC) General Assembly came together to discuss the future of bio-based industries in Europe.

With 56 new members offering fresh new ideas, the BIC saw participants discuss the further development of Europe’s competitive bioeconomy by bringing forward new technological developments and creating market pull for bio-based products and applications.

BIC Executive Director, Dirk Carrez, said, “BIC continues to be an important bio-based platform, bringing together different sectors and entire value chains to collaborate on the bioeconomy. New members…help us further develop innovative bio-based value chains and contribute to Europe’s circular and low carbon economy objectives.”

The meeting also discussed the Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU) participation with representatives of BBI JU Coordination and Support Actions (CSAs) addressing non-technological aspects of the bioeconomy such as market uptake, road mapping and standardisation to support further developments in the sector.

“BBI JU continues to have a strong impact, mobilising relevant stakeholders ranging from SMEs to large companies and resource and technology providers to brand owners,” said Carrez.

Other topics discussed included BIC’s recent study which outlines a range of funding opportunities for EU bio-based projects in the new European bioeconomy strategy that aims to increase awareness of different EU financial instruments and demonstrate how they can be used and combined to improve future participation in the bio-based industry.

More information can be found on the BIC website.

14 Feb 2018

Stora Enso launches bio-based lignin as renewable replacement for oil-based phenolic materials

Lignin is one of the main building blocks of a tree and makes up 20-30% of the composition of wood. Yet it has traditionally been discarded by the pulp and paper industries.

However, Stora Enso, a leading global provider of renewable solutions in packaging, biomaterials, wooden constructions and paper, has recognised the potential of this versatile raw material, which can be used in a range of applications where fossil-based materials are currently used.

The launch of Lineo by Stora Enso is another important step on the way to replacing fossil-based materials with renewable solutions. Lineo is available to companies seeking more sustainable, bio-based alternatives.

Lignin is a renewable replacement for oil-based phenolic materials which are used in resins for plywood, oriented strand board (OSB), laminated veneer lumber (LVL), paper lamination and insulation material.

Markus Mannström, Executive Vice President of the Stora Enso Biomaterials division, says, "Having increased our lignin focus in recent years, we're delighted to launch LineoTM. Lignin is a non-toxic raw material with traceable origin and stable cost structure, and bio-based Lineo is ideal for companies looking for alternatives to oil-based products. We believe that everything made from fossil-based materials today, can be made from a tree tomorrow."

Stora Enso has been producing lignin at industrial scale since 2015 at its Sunila Mill in Finland. The mill's capacity is 50 000 tonnes per year, making Stora Enso the largest Kraft lignin producer in the world. Stora Enso is already selling Lineo to replace phenol, and the company is also looking at many other applications for this very versatile material.

A stable, free-flowing brown powder, Stora Enso's lignin is separated during the Kraft pulping process of Nordic softwood. Lineo has a high dry content, superior dispersibility and long storage time. With a higher reactivity and purity, Lineo is consistent from batch to batch and Stora Enso can supply different levels of dryness, according to customer demand.


(This article was originally published by European Bioplastics: www.bioplasticsmagazine.com/en/news/meldungen/20181202-StoraEnso-develops-bio-based-lignin-as-renewable-replacement-for-oil-based-phenolic-materials.php)

06 Feb 2018

New start-up awarded grant to develop lignin-based mulch films

A young start-up, Tennessee-based Grow Bioplastics, has been awarded a National Science Foundation Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant for $225,000 to conduct research and development work on lignin-biomass based biodegradable plastics for agricultural applications, specifically plastic mulches.

The company's biodegradable product offers an alternative to plastic mulch films used by farmers around the world. Current non-degradable plastics must be removed at the end of each growing season and are often sent to a landfill, because they are difficult to recycle. Grow Bioplastics' biodegradable film can be plowed into the soil after each use, offering a solution to the additional labor costs and environmental impact of current films.

Founded in 2016 by University of Tennessee Knoxville graduate students Tony Bova and Jeff Beegle, Grow Bioplastics is creating a technology platform for lignin-based, naturally degradable and compostable plastics that serve as drop-in replacements for petroleum-based resins. Lignin is the second most abundant natural biopolymer in the world and primary waste product of biorefineries and paper mills. The new lignin-based plastics can then be plowed into the soil after use, allowing them to be used as replacements for petroleum-based plastics that are not biodegradable and difficult to recycle.

"The National Science Foundation supports small businesses with the most innovative, cutting-edge ideas that have the potential to become great commercial successes and make huge societal impacts," said Barry Johnson, director of the NSF's Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships. "We hope that this seed funding will spark solutions to some of the most important challenges of our time across all areas of science and technology."

"Being selected for this competitive award from the NSF is a huge step for our company," said Tony Bova, CEO and co-Founder of Grow Bioplastics. "We are very excited to announce two partnerships on this grant. The first with Glucan Biorenewables, LLC to use their novel gamma-valerolactone derived lignin streams, and the second with Dr. David Harper, associate professor at the University of Tennessee Center for Renewable Carbon, to help us evaluate the processability of our materials."

He added: "This funding will help us validate the fundamental science behind our lignin-based plastic technology, allow us to hire our first employees here in East Tennessee, and bring us one step closer to realizing our vision for a socially and environmentally driven business model to support a circular economy."

The company's first products will be plastic pellets that can be processed into blown or cast plastic mulch films and thermoformed or injection moulded trays and pots for agricultural and horticultural applications. Bova and Beegle anticipate first commercial sales of their products to begin in 2019.

(Source: www.bioplasticsmagazine.com/en/news/meldungen/20180131-New-start-up-awarded-grant-to-develop-lignin-based-mulch-films.php)

01 Feb 2018

Europe to ramp up funding for bio-based plastics

The European Commission will increase the funding for research and development of innovative bio-based plastics and to further improve plastic recycling.

During the press conference on the European Strategy on Plastics earlier this month, the Commission’s Vice-President Jyrki Katainen said, “We are also ready to finance or increase financing for new innovations in recyclability and new oil-free raw materials. Horizon 2020 has already allocated 250 million Euros for this kind of innovative work, and we have decided to increase the ceiling with additional 100 million by 2020.“

This is an important signal for the bioplastics industry in Europe, which is needed to drive continued change in the plastics industry towards an innovative, sustainable, and resource-efficient economy.

In the Communication of the Plastics Strategy, the Commission highlights that, “Alternative types of feedstock (e.g. bio-based plastics or plastics produced from carbon dioxide or methane), offering the same functionalities of traditional plastics with potentially lower environmental impacts […] at the moment represent a very small share of the market. Increasing the uptake of alternatives that according to solid evidence are more sustainable can also help decrease our dependency on fossil fuels.”

The Commission’s commitment to supporting the development and scaling up of alternative bio-based feedstocks for plastics is crucial for a still young industry that offers substantial opportunities for innovation, jobs, and at the same time supporting the EU’s transition to a circular economy.

(This article was originally published by European Bioplastics: http://www.european-bioplastics.org/europe-to-ramp-up-funding-for-bio-based-plastics/)

24 Jan 2018

Rehap publish in Horizon Magazine

Horizon magazine recently published an article on Rehap, "Wheat straw waste could be basis for greener chemicals". The article looks at both Rehap and OPTISOCHEM, two EU-funded projects that are researching how to turn leftover wheat straw into bio-based chemicals. Read the full article below.

The straw leftover from harvested wheat could be turned into bio-based chemicals that offer high greenhouse gas savings and do not compete with food supplies or damage ecosystems.

Researchers are hoping to use the huge amounts of wheat straw currently left to rot on European farms to develop the building blocks for greener biochemicals.

The wheat stalks left behind after harvesting cannot be eaten by animals so are normally used as bedding for livestock or left on fields as a way to enrich the soil.

But the OPTISOCHEM project, funded by the EU's Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking Programme, is hoping to transform this excess material into something more useful — a gas called bio-isobutene.

‘Wheat straw is the most important type of agriculture residue in the EU – about 144 million tonnes accumulate each year,’ said Bernard Chaud, director of industrial strategy at Global Bioenergies, in France.

Sugars found in the wheat straw are fermented and turned into a gas at a biorefinery, where bio-isobutene can then be extracted and in turn can be used to create biochemicals. These can then replace fossil fuel-based chemicals that are used to make many plastics, paints, tyres, lubricants, adhesives and sealants.

It could offer a new carbon-neutral energy source called biofuel — one that sucks carbon out of the atmosphere as the plants grow and does not release additional emissions when it is burnt, unlike coal, oil or gas.

Biofuels are considered to be one of the most realistic alternatives to fossil fuels for the transport sector, in particular for the aviation and maritime industries.

But biofuels have come under intense scrutiny as they compete with food crops for land, often in parts of the world where food security is already threatened.

Their carbon emission reductions have also been questioned due to the amount of land and infrastructure needed to produce them.

‘We are facing a challenge — we need more produce for a growing population but we have limited resources,’ said Chaud, who is the coordinator of OPTISOCHEM. ‘At the same time we want to protect the environment and reduce fossil fuel use. With bio-isobutene from wheat straw, we can use a feedstock already available (for biochemicals).’

According to analysis conducted by Chaud, if just 48 million of the 144 million tonnes of wheat straw waste produced in the EU annually was collected, it could produce 21 million tonnes of sugar that could feed 100 commercial biorefinery plants to produce steady supply of biochemicals for use by different industries, including biofuels, and substitute the equivalent of 35 million barrels of fossil fuel per year.

These plants could be built in rural regions where most wheat farms in Europe are often located, bringing new jobs to the countryside during construction and operation.

‘It offers an additional revenue stream,’ said Chaud. ‘(Farmers) will not only sell the grain, but also the straw.’

By the end of the project, Chaud hopes they will have the plans for the first commercial biorefinery, which he said could start paying farmers for their wheat straw in under a decade.

But if plant owners and farmers both have an incentive to collect wheat straw, could too much organic material be taken off the fields, exposing the soil to erosion and degradation?

‘In sustainable farming a fraction of this (wheat straw) residue should remain in the field to reduce erosion and protect the organic carbon and nutrients in the soil,’ said Chaud. ‘But you can export up to 30-60 % without endangering soil quality.’

The project is also taking a conservative approach and only considers one third of the available wheat straw to be available for biofuel and biochemical production in their calculations of the potential future market.

Meanwhile, the leftover materials from the processed wheat straw can be used as an alternative to fossil fuel-based fertilisers, a by-product that would support, rather than hinder, sustainable agriculture.

Green buildings

Additionally, wheat straw waste can be used to support a greener construction industry too.

The EU-funded REHAP project is attempting to transform wheat straw waste into new products that can be used to make eco-friendly resins for wood and biochemicals for greener cement.

‘We are extracting sugars and lignin from wheat straw waste,’ said Dr Miriam García, a materials scientist at Tecnalia Research and Innovation centre in Gipuzkoa, Spain, who helps coordinate REHAP. The project is nearing the end of its first year where the researchers have been developing the processes to extract these biochemicals.

From this material, the team aims to develop bio-resins that can be used to reduce the amount of fossil fuels used to develop artificial chemicals currently used when making wooden planks and boards.

Their biochemicals could also act as an improved binding agent in concrete, helping to reduce the amount of water needed during construction.

They are also extracting sugars and tannins from forestry waste, which will be used to develop wooden boards as well as sustainable polyurethanes, a type of polymer used in home insulation, furniture and bedding.

‘We are demonstrating the viability of using this waste in such a massive sector like construction,’ said Dr García.

By combining biochemicals from wheat straw and wood waste, Dr García believes they could have a big impact on the fossil fuel emissions of the construction industry.

‘We expect to reduce carbon dioxide emissions significantly,’ she said. ‘We think we can reduce fossil fuel resources used by 80-100 %, depending on the material (replaced with a REHAP alternative).’

Currently most wood waste is burned, but by locking it into buildings, carbon can be captured rather than released once again into the atmosphere.

‘We add value to this waste, not only by creating products that save energy or store carbon, but through products that have a higher economic value,’ said Dr García.

By Steve Gillman