Commercialization of biopolymers
Updated: Oct 30, 2020
Biopolymers are being commercialized since the starting of the 21st century and the market is growing rapidly. Every country and international organization has set goals to convert their hazardous and/or polluting products into green products; that motivate businessmen and entrepreneurs to invest and innovate in green projects. That resulted in a dramatic growth of sustainable businesses.
In the field of biopolymers, we have seen PLA(Polylactic Acid) as the most commercially viable biopolymer.
It has made a significant place in the market too. As per the data of market research, the current demand for PLA is more than the supply. There are only two successful commercial plants for PLA in the world so far and these are Natureworks at Nebraska, USA and Total-Corbion at Rayong, Thailand.
Natureworks PLA plant has a capacity of 1,50,000 tons per year and working at full capacity. Total-Corbion PLA plant has a capacity of 1,00,000 tons per year for Lactide and 75,000 tons per year for PLA.
Furthermore, there are few European companies, offering turnkey project solutions for manufacturing PLA from starch/glucose.
It shows that the biopolymer industry is expanding rapidly and bringing it into reality. Moreover, the ban on single-use plastic in many countries and regions can be one of the reasons for the growth. Most international companies have started using sustainable materials for their products.
Research in the field of biopolymers has also become significantly important for all the research institute and universities. There are numerous patents and research papers published on biopolymers. Moreover, much research has been taken over by private companies for commercialization.
In addition, the machinery manufacturers are launching machinery that can be used for the production of bioplastic products from biopolymer granules like, injection molding, extrusion, blown film, non-woven fabric plant, etc. Downstream industries for bioplastic product manufacturing are coming into the business. The brands are advertising themselves as a sustainable and Earth protector; projecting as they are contributing towards a sustainable future.
As per my personal survey, India is having more than 30 units of biopolymer processing industries. Most of them are exporting the end products and also distributing them in the Indian market. All of them are importing biopolymer granules to process into the end products.
The biopolymer industry in India is growing at a rate of 21 CAGR.
The processing industry is looking forward to raw material manufacturing plant in India to make bioplastic products more competitive and affordable for the common public and themselves too.
Furthermore, bringing biopolymer raw material manufacturing plants to India will boost the Indian agriculture and plastic processing industry.
After the initiative of a single-use plastic ban by the Indian government and various state governments, the plastics processing industry was in a sudden fall and many of them are in a state of NPA/bankruptcy. As single-use plastic is being banned all over the world and the Sun of the petrochemical-based single-use plastic industry is setting down, the industry is actively looking for a solution or an alternative to survive. The government needs to come into the picture somehow to make the plastic processing industry survive and double the income of farmers.
In conclusion, the businessman and entrepreneur are ready to go into the bioplastic business and investors are very active to invest in green projects. Governments are also supporting green businesses through grants and loans. Moreover, the government needs to be more active on single-use plastic policy and make the steps more effective to bring sustainable products into reality.