Skip to main content

Latest trends and market data for Bio-based and CO2-based Chemicals and Polymers

08 Nov 2023
Sustainable Materials and Chemicals

The impact of fossil carbon embedded in chemicals and polymers is today still mostly neglected. Nevertheless, the only way for chemicals and polymers to become sustainable and part of the circular economy is the complete substitution of fossil carbon with renewable carbon from alternative sources: biomass, CO2 and recycling.

The presentation will focus on developments in bio- and CO2-based polymers and building blocks: Bio-based polymers are estimated to grow at a CAGR of 14 % from 2022 to 2027. Some examples: Bio-based epoxy resin production is on the rise, PTT regained attractiveness after several years of constant capacities and PE and PP made from bio-based naphtha are being further established with growing volumes. Increased capacities for PLA are ongoing, after being sold out in 2019. Current and future expansions for bio-based polyamides as well as PHAs are on the horizon. And also, bio-based PET is getting back in the game.

Additionally, the use of CO2 as chemical feedstock for building blocks and polymers has been intensively diversified. Several successfully implemented technologies used at commercial level are in place and many more at the laboratory and pilot phase. Besides the long-established use of CO2 for the synthesis of polycarbonates, also polyurethanes are based on it. The most notable biotechnological conversion pathway of a syngas produces ethanol at commercial scale. Additionally, high interest is also observed in CO2-based methanol and in CO2-based hydrocarbons, which can be used for fuel, chemical and polymer applications. A current total production capacity of these CO2-based products of ca. 1.3 Mt/a in 2022 is observed and a strong increase in capacity is expected by 2027.

Pia Skoczinski, Senior Expert Technology & Markets - Nova-Institut GmbH
Pauline Ruiz, Expert in Sustainability, Technology & Markets for Renewable Chemicals and Polymers - Nova-Institut GmbH