According to a new market report published by global market research firm Lucintel, the future of the natural fiber composites (NFCs) market looks attractive, with opportunities in the automotive and building & construction industries. The global natural fiber composites market is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 8.2% from 2015 to 2020.
The major driver for the growth of this market is the rise in demand for lightweight and environmentally sustainable composite materials in various applications, such as automotive, building & construction, and others. The automotive industry was the early adopter of natural fiber composites and has emerged as the largest application area. Building and construction is the second largest market for NFCs and captured approximately $17 million of the total market in terms of value shipment in 2014.
In this market, natural fiber (hemp, flax, jute, kenaf, and others) and resin (polypropylene, polyethylene, polylactic acid, and others) are the major raw materials used for producing natural fiber composites. Lucintel predicts that the demand for NFCs is likely to experience a good growth during the forecast period supported by growing demand in end-user industries. On the basis of comprehensive research, Lucintel forecasts that the automotive segment is expected to show above average growth during the forecast period.
Within the natural fiber composites market, the automotive segment is expected to remain the largest application by both value and volume. Increasing concern for passenger safety, government mandates for better fuel economy, and end-of-life vehicles directive are the major driving forces that spur growth for this segment over the forecast period.
Europe is expected to remain the largest market during the forecast period due to higher acceptance level of environmentally sustainable composite materials by automotive OEMs, government directives, and growth in end use industries.
ROW (including Asia Pacific) is expected to witness the highest growth over the forecast period due to growth in automotive production and increasing demand of NFC in automotive applications.
For market expansion, this report suggests innovation and new product development, where the unique characteristics of NFCs can be capitalized. Some of the innovation areas in NFCs could be in achieving higher strength and stiffness, better fire retardant properties, and batch-to-batch quality consistency.
Emerging trends in the global NFCs market, which have a direct impact on the dynamics of the industry, include emergence of new application areas and increasing governmental focus on the use of bio-composites. FlexForm Technologies, Procotex Corporation SA, GreenGran BV and FiberGran GmbH & Co. KG are among the major suppliers of NFCs.