The global automotive bioplastic market is likely to be valued at US$ 521 Mn in 2019. The automotive bioplastic market is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 11% during the forecast period of 2020-2027.
The global automotive bioplastic market is expected to witness significant growth on account of their increasing adoption to reduce the weight of cars, as they have much less weight as compared to conventional counterparts. The demand for this material is expected to rise, owing to its superior characteristics such as less dependency on changes in the oil market, and the ability to reduce CO2 emissions by reducing overall car weight. Recyclability of these materials is also likely to provide them a competitive edge over traditional plastics.
Demand for automotive bioplastics will remain significantly high in interior applications. The growth of this particular segment can be primarily attributed to the lightweight nature of bioplastics and their ability to increase the efficiency of components. Biopolymer or bioplastic manufactureres are developing specialty grades of plastics suiting variety of applications for automotive interior as well as exterior components.
Stringent Emission Norms
Bioplastic parts and components weigh a lot lesser than their metallic counterparts, hence, their usage in the construction of a vehicle leads to weight reduction, which is beneficial as it helps bring down fuel consumption and subsequently emissions.
As per the data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the U.S. and Canada are ranked number two and seven, respectively, in terms of CO2 emissions, globally. Additionally, with respect to emission per capita, the U.S. is ranked number one among large economies. Consumers have become more aware of and proactive about climate change and global warming, as well as have to comply with stringent corporate average fuel economy regulations (CAFE); hence, they are increasingly focusing on vehicle maintenance.
Burgeoning Sales of High-end Vehicles and Sports Cars
Europe is a lucrative market for the automakers, with Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, and France being at the forefront. Automotive manufacturers in these countries are focused on rolling out mid-level to high-level variants, which take up a major share of the automotive bioplastic market. With high sales observed in such variants, it has become imperative that these models must incorporate high-end materials in their build, including bioplastic materials, as consumers place high focus on the quality and appeal of the vehicle.
Furthermore, consumers in the region are also concentrating on environmental sustenance, motivating a slight shift towards electric vehicles. High sales of electric vehicles coupled with growing focus on incorporating automotive bioplastic are some of the prime reasons driving the market growth.
Lightweight Vehicles for Fuel Efficiency
Stringent emission standards in countries such as Germany, the U.S., Canada, the U.K., and Mexico, are compelling automotive builders to make fuel-efficient vehicles. To attain fuel economy, auto manufacturers are trying to reduce the weight of vehicles and their components, which will support the demand for light weight automotive brakes, such as carbon ceramic (CC) brakes. These brakes are comparatively light in weight and hence, improve the performance and durability of vehicles.
Automotive Bioplastic - An Alternative with a Future?
The automotive industry has been on a tear for years with fossil fuel becoming a dwindling resource, growing prominence of stringent emission regulations – especially in countries where implementation has been lax - and the rise of electric vehicles (EVs).
Over the years, increasing volume and reducing prices continued to influence the growth strategies of the industry, however, the volume is unlikely to grow steadily in the future amid wrenching changes in global economies and increasing focus on raising fuel efficiency. Today, cutting fuel consumption and emission by reducing vehicle’s weight is a prime objective and major challenge for the automotive sector.
With the emergence of ‘lightweight’ trend, plastics have continuously been used to substitute metals or heavier materials in vehicles. The automotive industry has, for now, escaped the scrutiny surrounding plastic pollution, and the search is on for alternative to conventional plastics. As a result, automakers are turning to ‘bioplastics’ with an aim to reducing products’ environmental impact, and stay ahead of the pack in the era of green technologies.
Exceeding Performance and Cost Parameters - Key Growth Influencer
Beyond the benefits of reduced weight, the future of the automotive industry lies choosing the most resource efficient material, and bioplastics – such as bio-based polyesters and bio-based polyamides – are well suited to contributing to the future. In recent times, bioplastics are finding diverse applications including automobile interiors, undercarriages, and even under the hood; the result is likely to lead to increased demand in the foreseeable future.
Moreover, the global automotive bioplastic market is set to record a value CAGR of ~11% in the next ten years. The demand for automotive bioplastic is gaining further boost from its ability to reduce the dependency on limited fossil resource and minimize the environmental impact of car production by limiting energy use and CO2 emissions.
Bioplastic feedstocks include land-efficient annual crops (renewable resources) such as corns, castor oil plants, sugar beets, and switch grass, and it can also be derived from non-biodegradable polymers for use in durable applications. Innovations have been forthcoming in line with significant advancements in green chemistry to meet or exceed performance and cost parameters of conventional plastics.
How Growth Will Unfold
Automotive bioplastic is a key component of ‘bioeconomy’ - a novel concept of developing an entire economy based on renewable biological resources for sustainable production. For their growing technical applications, conventional automotive plastics are required to meet increasingly high standards, and bioplastics are no exception. In addition to technical complexity, there are plenty of room for improvement in barrier properties, durability, and compatibility with other polymers.
R&D initiatives are expected provide effective solutions and improve the current situation. Collaborations with ombudsmen and research institutes also remains a key focus of the market players to strengthen environmental claims made for their products and to maintain supremacy in the race of innovations.
Developed Nations - Ahead in the Game
Bioplastic is revolutionary material, changing how cars are made to align with global sustainability drive. Europe and North America and neck-and-neck in the automotive bioplastic industry, ranking relatively high in the field of research and development, as compared to other regions. These factors came into play when researchers in Eindhoven University of Technology, Netherlands developed the first car out of completely from bioplastics in June 2018.
With a growing number of raw materials, applications, and products, the number of manufacturers, converters, and end users are also increasing significantly in developed nations such as Japan. Moreover, Toyota, a Japanese carmaker, is the frontrunner in adopting bio-based plastic for its production process.
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