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Biobased Polymers 2018-2023

A Technology and Market Perspective

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Biobased polymers are a class of polymers that are manufactured from a biomass source, rather than from an oleochemical source. Although some of these types of polymers have been well known for over a century, they have not yet seen widespread application due to barriers facing production, such as cost and scale. However, thanks to innovations in synthetic biology, these polymers are becoming more affordable to manufacture, and therefore more commonly encountered. Increasing customer awareness of the climate impact of petrochemically derived polymers as well as a global shift in demand away from plastics with a lifespan of several hundreds of years has resulted in renewed focus on this previously inaccessible area. Biobased polymers can come in multiple different forms: direct, or "drop-in" replacements for their petrochemical counterparts offering near-identical properties, or entirely novel polymers that were previously inaccessible, such as polylactide, some of which offer substantially improved technical specifications compared to their alternatives.
Technology, applications and case studies
In 2018, the range of biobased polymers is hugely varied, yet disparate. Biobased Polymers 2018: A Technology and Market Perspective takes an in-depth look into the diverse range of biobased polymers, from established to nascent, providing detailed case studies of leading edge companies developing the technology, while pulling together related polymer classes. An overview of the latest tools utilised in the field of synthetic biology is provided, with focus on CRISPR, protein and organism engineering and commercial scale fermentation. Furthermore, this report cuts through the marketing hype to offer a detailed insight into some of the foremost biobased polymer companies leading global innovation and bringing potentially disruptive products to market.
Market outlook
This report provides an overview of the technological advancements in biobased polymers to date, a comprehensive insight into the drivers and restraints affecting synthesis and production at scale for all key application areas discussed and provides case studies and SWOT analyses for the most prolific disrupters developing biobased polymers. IDTechEx conducted exhaustive primary research with companies across a range of industries developing synthetic biology for key insights into the drivers and restraints affecting the growth of this technology.
Key questions that are answered in this report
  • Can synthetic biology be harnessed to produce biobased polymers?
  • What are the tools used to engineer cell factories for biobased polymer production?
  • Who are the key players developing biobased polymers?
  • What are the key drivers and restraints of market growth?
  • How are traditional polymer products being disrupted by biobased polymers?
  • How will biobased polymer production capacity evolve from 2018 to 2023?
  • What are the investment shares of those active in the market?
Who should buy this report? Which general sectors and people making/researching what? etc.
This report is relevant to venture capitalists and private equity firms looking to invest in the latest synthetic biology start-up, several of which have been interviewed for this report.
Product manufacturers in the fast moving consumer goods industry, food and beverage industries, medical and pharmaceutical industries investigating how their products may be disrupted by synthetic biology or identifying potential collaborators/acquisition targets/competitors will also stand to benefit from purchasing this report.
Analyst access from IDTechEx
All report purchases include up to 30 minutes telephone time with an expert analyst who will help you link key findings in the report to the business issues you're addressing. This needs to be used within three months of purchasing the report.
Further information
If you have any questions about this report, please do not hesitate to contact our report team at or call one of our sales managers:

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Table of Contents
1.1.Global plastics production to grow to 485 Mt in 2028
1.2.The range of biobased monomers
1.3.Defining "biobased polymers"
1.4.The four drivers for substitution
1.5.Drivers and restraints of market growth
1.6.The price of oil affects the size of the Green Premium
1.7.Reduced carbon dioxide emissions directives
1.8.Feedstock competition: food or fuel (or plastics)?
1.9.The filthy five: curbing single use plastics
1.10.Are biodegradable plastics the solution?
1.11.A rapidly growing but uncertain technology
2.1.Scope of the report
2.2.Glossary: common acronyms for reference
2.3.Key terms and definitions
2.4.Navigating biobased polymers from monosaccharides
2.5.Navigating biobased polymers from vegetable oils
2.6.Defining "biobased polymers"
2.7.The range of available biobased monomers
2.8.Social, economic and environmental megatrends
2.9.A rapidly growing but uncertain technology
2.10.Global supply of plastics has grown exponentially
2.11.Environmental costs: the rising tide of plastic pollution
2.12.Biobased value add: The Green Premium...
2.13....versus the price of Brent Crude
2.14.The four drivers for substitution
3.1.The Design and Engineering of Biological Systems
3.2.Manipulating the Central Dogma
3.3.The Scope of Synthetic Biology is Vast
3.4.Cell Factories for Biomanufacturing: A Range of Organisms
3.5.The Techniques and Tools of Synthetic Biology
3.6.DNA Synthesis
3.7.Gene Editing
3.8.What Exactly is CRISPR-Cas9?
3.9.Strain Construction and Optimization
3.10.Framework for Developing Industrial Microbial Strains
3.11.The Problem with Scale
5.1.What is "nanocellulose"?
5.2.Nanocellulose up close
5.4.BioPlus by American Process
5.5.The Exilva project
5.6.Manufacturing thermoplastic starch
5.8.Seaweed extracts as a packaging material
5.10.Ooho! by Skipping Rocks Lab
6.1.Spider Silk Without Spiders
6.2.Manufacturing synthetic spider silk
6.3.Applications for Spider Silk
6.4.Bolt Threads
6.6.Kraig Biocraft Laboratories
7.1.Introduction to poly(hydroxyalkanoates)
7.2.Suppliers of PHAs
7.3.PHAs: microstructures and properties
7.4.Biosynthetic pathways to PHAs
7.5.Fermentation, recovery and purification
7.6.Applications and opportunities for PHAs
9.1.Introduction to poly(lactide)
9.2.Lactic acid: bacterial fermentation or chemical synthesis?
9.3.Optimal lactic acid bacteria strains for fermentation
9.4.Engineering yeast strains for lactic acid fermentation
9.5.Fermentation, recovery and purification
9.6.Polymerisation of lactide and microstructures of PLA
9.7.Suppliers of lactide and poly(lactide)
9.8.Current and future applications of poly(lactide)
9.9.Opportunities in the lifecycle of PLA
10.1.Introduction to polyesters from diacids and diols
10.2.The range of available biobased polyesters in 2018
10.3.Biobased polyester suppliers
10.4.Biobased MEG and PET: monomer production
10.5.Biobased MEG and PET: polymer applications
10.6.Biobased PDO and PTT: monomer production
10.7.Biobased PDO and PTT: polymer applications
10.8.Biobased BDO and PBT: monomer production
10.9.Biobased BDO and PBT: polymer applications
10.10.Biobased succinic acid and PBS: monomer production
10.11.Biobased succinic acid and PBS: polymer applications
10.12.Biobased furfural compounds: 5-HMF
10.13.Biobased FDCA and PEF: monomer production
10.14.Biobased FDCA and PEF: polymer applications
10.15.Biobased TPA for PET, PEIT, PTT and PBAT polymers
11.1.Introduction to biobased polyamides
11.2.Range of available biobased monomers and polyamides
11.3.Biobased monomer and polyamide suppliers
11.4.C6: adipic acid, hexamethylenediamine and caprolactam
11.5.C10: sebacic acid and decamethylenediamine
11.6.C11: 11-aminoundecanoic acid
11.7.C12: Dodecanedioic acid
11.8.Polyamide properties, applications and opportunities
12.1.Other biobased polymers
12.2.Polyester polyols, polyurethanes and polyisocyanates
12.3.Cargill: vegetable oil derived polyols
12.4.Myriant: succinic acid based polyester polyols
12.5.Covestro and Reverdia: Impranil eco Succinic acid based polyester polyols
12.6.BASF: Sovermol 830 Castor oil derived polyether-ester polyol
12.7.Covestro: PDI and Desmodur eco N 7300 polyisocyanurate
12.8.Biobased polyolefins
12.9.Braskem: I'm green Polyethylene
12.10.Biobased isosorbide as a comonomer
12.11.Roquette: POLYSORB isosorbide
12.12.Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation: Durabio
13.1.The price of oil affects the size of the Green Premium
13.2.Reduced carbon dioxide emissions directives
13.3.Feedstock competition: food or fuel (or plastics)?
13.4.The filthy five: curbing single use plastics
13.5.Are biodegradable plastics the solution?
13.6.Global plastics production to grow to 485 Mt in 2028
13.7.Biobased polymers: forecast production capacity by material
13.8.Regional production forecast 2018-2023
13.9.Drivers and restraints of market growth

Report Statistics

Slides 137
Forecasts to 2023

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