Bio composites or green composites are formed by a biopolymer matrix and reinforcement of natural fibres. Someare degradable materials, but this is rare.Increasing concerns for the environment is a major driver of the bio composite market. Need for green composites is driven by depleting natural resources like crude oil (crude oil is a major component of non-bio composites), focus on reducing environmental pollution levels and utilization of agricultural waste. Natural fibres used in bio composites include natural fibres like Jute,wood flour, sugarcane bagasse, oil palm fibre,rice husk etc.
Natural fibre reinforced polypropylene (PP) composites have gained popularity for commercial use in the automotive industry. The advantages of natural fibres over manmade glass fibre include reduced cost, low density, distinct mechanical properties, less energy consumption etc. Automakers are currently shifting towards bio composites as natural fibres like hemp are tougher than steel and is also cost-effective in terms of production. Bio composites are also used in the construction and marine sectors as it is easily mouldable and rigid in nature.
In terms of revenue, the global polymer market was estimated to be US$ 250 billion in 2013. Projections suggest that the market will reach US$450 billion by 2025. On the other hand, globalmarket of bio-based polymer is expected to grow at a CAGR of 10% – 11.5%. Increase in demand for bio composites is expected from regions of Asia Pacific, due to increasing construction, manufacturing and automotive sectors. Asia-Pacific is also estimated to be the largest automotive composite market with total share of around 43% globally. Asia-Pacific is turning into a hub for bio composite manufactures and is expected to report a high demand for bio composites over the coming years.
Commercial and residential construction industry in APAC is flourishing and bio composite is preffered for manufacturing are used industry is assured to play a major role in it due to increasing environmental concerns, stringent government regulations and as a social responsibility.
The key players in the market are divided into two groups which are bio composite manufacturers and bio composite suppliers. The main producers of natural fibre composites in the market are Flexform Technologies, Tecnaro GmbH, Procotex S.A. Corporation NV and Greengran B.V. The prominent suppliersof natural fibre composites are Stemergy, Bast Fibers, LLC and Crailar.
Many companies offering bio composites are aggressively trying to enhance their product portfolio to meet customer requirements and explore untapped markets. The bio composite market in APAC is highly fragmented and existing players try to develop partnership agreements amongst themselves and with smaller companies.
After a decade of extraordinary developments with regard to artificial fibres, bio composites have garnered high interest from the automotive sector, especially for interior and exteriors of automobiles. Social concerns, depleting carbon resources and ecological regulations have initiated the search for new products and processes that are environment friendly. The combination of natural fibres and composites can reduce dependence on petroleum-based composite material. Bio composites could ultimately replace petroleum-based composite material in various applications areas such as automotive and construction. This could also offer new manufacturing and environmental benefits.
Increasing use of bio composites can help maintain CO2 balance in Earth’s atmosphere. Awareness with regard to the environment and new government regulations like CAFÉ (Corporate Average Fuel Economy), new national and state emission standards will catalyze increased research for eco-friendly products in the application industry.
As bio composites are produced from renewable sources such as wood pulp, jute fibers, cellulose fiber etc., it is imperative that the cost of raw materials will be stable in coming years. In addition to this high volume production of bio composites will also minimize the production cost, thus market prices of bio composites.
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