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Capacity of Emerging Bio-based Material, Chemicals Tech to Rise to 7.4M Metric Tons in 2018

lux researchThe global capacity to produce bio-based materials and chemicals (BBMC) from emerging technologies will rise to over 7.4 million metric tons in 2018, more than tripling from 2008 levels, according to a new report from Lux Research. The US and Brazil will drive capacity growth.

In North America, 17 BBMC facilities are set to come online, many of them driven by emerging technology like Elevance Renewable Sciences’ metathesis technology and Butamax Advanced Biofuels’ retrofit for the production of isobutanol, says Andrew Soare, Lux Research senior analyst and author of the report.

Soare says that some of the planned facilities – like those of Butamax – plan to retrofit existing ethanol facilities, a move that is likely to accelerate in the coming years.

The report, Capacity Growth and Trends of Emerging Bio-based Material and Chemical Technologies, was created using Lux’s BBMC Tracker, a database of over 200 production facilities globally, and conducted hundreds of interviews with leading innovators and producers to estimate capacity growth.

Other findings include:

–Lignocellulosics will be fastest-growing feedstock. Sugar and starch will remain the dominant feedstocks, accounting for 58% of total capacity, but capacity fed by lignocellulosics, such as risk husks and corn stover, will register the fastest growth, at a whopping 85% compound annual growth rate (CAGR).

Intermediates, polymers will dominate. Intermediate chemicals such as lactic acid and monoethylene glycol, with 2.94 million metric tons, will hold a nearly 40% share of the total capacity. Polymers, like polylactic acid and bio-derived polyethylene, will gain a 32% share with 2.39 million metric tons, but bio-oils and derivatives will grow the fastest – at a 38% rate, crossing one million metric tons in capacity in 2018.

Specialty chemicals growth will slow down. Specialty chemicals, led by ethyl acetate, butyl acetate, Dow Ecolibrium™ plasticizer, and farnesene, expanded rapidly from almost no capacity as late as 2010 to over 582,000 MT in 2014. However, due to the limited number of players in this space set to scale up to commercial volumes, this segment will grow slowly at just a 4% CAGR through 2018.


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