Growth rate of bioplastics higher than the overall growth of the plastics market

A new market and trend report by the German researcher nova-Institut characterizes 2020 as promising for bio-based polymers. Sold out PLA in 2019 led to the installation of capacity expansions, PE and PP made from bio-based naphtha are groundbreaking and further expansion for bio-based polyamides / nylons as well as for PBAT, PHAs and casein polymers is in sight. Only with bio-based PET was a lower production observed.

“Bio-based Building Blocks and Polymers – Global Capacities, Production and Trends 2020–2025” by the international nova biopolymer expert group shows capacities and production data for all bio-based polymers in 2020 and a forecast for 2025.

Several global brands are already expanding their raw material portfolio to include not only fossil sources, but also renewable carbon, CO2, recycling and, in particular, biomass, which is increasing the demand for bio-based and biodegradable polymers. At the same time, however, there is a lack of political support, which is still only promoting biofuels and bioenergy.

In 2020, the total production amount of bio-based polymers was 4.2 million tons, which corresponds to 1% of the total production amount of fossil polymers. For the first time in many years, the CAGR of 8% is significantly higher than the 3-4% of total polymer growth, and this is expected to continue through 2025.

Overall, the global land requirement for bio-based polymers is only 0.006% of the global agricultural area. The most important biomass raw material for bio-based polymer production is glycerine as a biogenic by-product (37%).

The market report for 2020, which is updated annually, describes a total of 17 bio-based components and 17 polymers, in addition to extensive information on capacity development from 2020 to 2025 and production data for 2020 per bio-based polymer. In addition, the edition contains analyzes of market developments and manufacturers per component and polymer, so that the reader can quickly get a comprehensive overview of current developments that go far beyond capacity and production figures. As an added bonus, the report offers a detailed and comprehensive expert view on bio-based naphtha. Finally, the deep insight into manufacturing companies introduced in 2018 has been comprehensively updated and now shows 174 detailed company profiles – from startups to multinational corporations.

nova-Institut sees significant growth in bio-based nylons and PP by 2025

It is interesting that the increase in production capacity from 2019 to 2020 is mainly based on the expansion of PLA and PBAT production in Asia and global epoxy resin production. In addition, increased and new production capacities for polybutylene succinate and copolymers (PBS (X)) as well as bio-based PE and polyurethanes were reported in 2020. In particular, polyamides / nylons and PP will continue to grow significantly (approx. 36%) until 2025. While capacities for PHA will grow in Asia and North America, casein polymers in Europe will grow 32% by 2025, followed by increases in PE in South America and Europe, PLA mainly in Europe, and PBAT in Asia at around 8%.

The data published annually by European Bioplastics ( comes from the market report of the biopolymer expert group of the nova Institute, but with a smaller selection of bio-based polymers. The corresponding authors come from Asia, Europe and North America.

The nova Institute's biopolymer report shows the development of global production up to 2025


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