The worldwide production capacity of bio-based polymers will triple from 5.7 million tonnes in 2014 to nearly 17 million tonnes in 2020, according to a new market study by the nova-Institute.

The Germany-based consultancy that specialises in the bio-based economy published the 2015 edition of its ‘Bio-based Building Blocks and Polymers in the World – Capacities, Production and Applications: Status Quo and Trends Towards 2020’ study yesterday (10 November).

Predictions set out in the study are based on the development and annual growth rates of bio-based polymer production capacity, which show a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) – the average annual growth rate of investment – of 20 per cent. This compares favourably to the CAGR of petrochemical polymers, which sits between three and four per cent.

The current and projected figures by the nova-Institute are significantly higher than those published last week (5 November) by European Bioplastics, which predicted that production capacity of bioplastics would rise from around 1.7 million tonnes in 2014 to 7.8 million tonnes in 2019. This, the institute explains, is due to the ‘broader scope’ taken in its study, including further bio-based polymers, such as bio-based thermosets (plastics that strengthen when heated) and cellulose acetate.