Growing consumer awareness towards renewable chemicals along with increasing environmental concerns has been the major factors for renewable chemicals market growth. Stringent environment regulations related to manufacture and disposal of petrochemicals by regulatory bodies such as EPA, REACH, and European Commission has also fueled renewable chemicals demand over the past few years. Volatile crude oil prices coupled with high prices of finished petrochemicals are estimated to augment market growth over the forecast period. Increasing preference for renewable resources on commercial and industrial level for manufacturing finished products such as pharmaceuticals, medicines, food additives, and plastics is also expected to supplement renewable chemicals demand. Major chemical manufacturers are shifting focus towards utilizing natural sources for manufacturing various chemicals in order to reduce dependence on fossil fuel resources. Strict regulations have been imposed on use and disposal of petrochemicals by various regional as well as national governments to reduce hazardous impacts on human and environment. High processing cost and complex manufacturing processes may hinder renewable chemicals market growth in long run. Some renewable alternatives to existing petrochemicals have been priced extremely high as compared to their synthetic counterparts. Lower purchasing power along with lack of consumer awareness for these chemicals particularly in emerging economies of Asia Pacific and Africa may also hamper renewable chemicals penetration in these regions over next few years.
The factors hindering the growth of the renewable chemicals market are high price when compared to the conventional polymers and associated performance issues. However, with increasing research and innovation, improvement is expected in the near future. The growth opportunities for the renewable chemicals market are increasing scope in end-user segments, new raw materials, under penetration in Asian countries, and potential for cost reduction through economy of scale.
Renewable chemicals may be used as drop-in substitute for existing petrochemicals in most of the predominant end-use industries including automotive & transportation, textile, pharmaceutical, consumer & home appliances, healthcare and food & beverages. Renewable chemicals are commercially available as ketones, alcohols (methanol and ethanol), organic acids and biopolymers. Alcohols hold the largest share in global renewable chemicals market and are expected to witness high growth rates on account of abundant availability and increasing application scope in several industries. On the basis of raw materials, renewable chemicals market has been segmented into agricultural wastes, vegetable oils, biomass and microorganisms.
Major companies operating in global renewable chemicals market comprise BASF SE, BioAmber Inc., Cargill, Natureworks LLC, Archer Daniels Midland Company, Verenium Corporation, Beta Renewables SpA, Braskem, Chevron Corporation, Cobalt Technologies and Amyris Inc.