Growth in PLA bioplastics: a production capacity of over 800,000t expected by 2020
he Nova-Institute will soon publish the first results of a multi-client market survey of the international bioplastics market.
25 companies have developed production capacity at 30 sites worldwide of over 180,000t of polylactic acid (PLA), one of the leading biobased plastics. PLA is used mainly in packaging, but it also has a large number of other durable applications. The largest producer is NatureWorks, a company that is active in the USA and Thailand, and has a capacity of 140,000t/year. The other producers have a current capacity of between 1,500 and 10,000t/year.
According to their own forecasts, existing PLA producers are planning considerable expansion of their capacity to around 800,000t/year by 2020. There should be at least seven sites with a capacity of over 50,000t/year by then. A survey of lactic acid producers, the preliminary stage of PLA production, revealed that production capacity to meet concrete requests from customers that cannot yet be named could even rise to roughly 950,000t/year.
The results are derived from the most comprehensive international market survey of bioplastics to date, which was carried out in conjunction with renowned international plastics experts. The "Market Study on Bio-based Polymers and Plastics in the World" will be published in January 2013 and contains, along with a 300-page report, access to the newly developed "Bioplastics Producer Database".