Bio-based chemicals have recently emerged as environmentally friendly alternatives to standard chemicals. A new JRC study details their potential in EU markets and estimates their annual growth rate at about 3.6% per year from 2018 to 2025.
Bio-based chemicals are all those chemical products wholly or partly made from materials of biological origin (for example biomasses, plants, algae, crops, trees, marine organisms and biological waste). Despite their successful application in several industries like cosmetics, solvents, inks, and other standard products, they still have a limited market share and investor interest. Moreover, few data are available on this market, which has not yet been extensively studied.
On January 23rd 2019 the JRC has presented the report “Insights into the European market for bio-based chemicals”: the first study which quantifies the untapped market potential of bio-based chemicals from 2018 to 2025. The study has been produced by the European Commission-Joint Research Centre in collaboration with the Biomass Technology Group and has been supported by DG Research & Innovation.
The study provides a detailed description of a segment of the EU bio-based products sector, represented by 10 chemical product categories: platform chemicals; solvents; polymers for plastics; paints, coatings, inks and dyes; surfactants, cosmetics and personal care products; adhesives; lubricants; plasticisers (and stabilisers for rubber and plastics); man-made fibres.
It provides a comprehensive list of bio-based products in this segment andspecifies how they relate to statistical nomenclature where possible. It also quantifies market and market dynamic indicators and provides land footprint information. All the bio-based products covered in the market study are already commercially available.
As bio-based chemicals have yet to be precisely defined, official European statistics provide limited insights on their environmental impacts and production trends.
“Having a comprehensive database with all this information at our disposal is a great opportunity for us” says Claudia Parisi, one of the JRC researchers involved in the report, “because now we are able to conduct a comprehensive analysis on these 10 product categories. This step is essential for the identification of market gaps and development opportunities”.