Biocomposites Market Overview
The global biocomposites market was valued at $4,167.2 million in 2017 and is projected to reach $8,473.4 million by 2023, witnessing a CAGR of 12.8% during the forecast period. The market growth is driven by factors such as increasing demand for green composites from automotive industry and low environmental impacts of natural composites.
GLOBAL BIOCOMPOSITES MARKET, BY TYPE, KILO TONNES (2013-2023)
Biocomposites are structural materials made from renewable resources, that biodegrade in an anaerobic environment after their useful service life, to produce a fuel or feedstock that are degradable and sustainable. These composites can be easily disposed without harming the environment. Owing to their durability, these are mainly used to increase the shelf-life of products.
Based on type, the biocomposites market is categorized into structural and non-structural. Structural category was the larger type in the market, contributing more than 55.0% of sales volume in 2017. The larger share of the type is ascribed to its superior load bearing property, over other types. This property enables its wide range of applications in construction of roof systems, subflooring, stairs, framing components, and furniture.
On the basis of fiber type, the biocomposites market is categorized into wood-plastic composites (WPCs) and natural fiber composites (NFCs). In terms of value, NFCs category is expected to grow faster at a CAGR of 12.9% during the forecast period. Natural fibers surpass the commonly used reinforcing fibers, such as glass fibers, with respect to density, cost, toughness, tensile strength, recyclability, and biodegradability, thus leading to their faster growth in demand.
In terms of application, the biocomposites market is categorized into construction, automotive, consumer goods, aerospace, packaging, medical, and others. “Others” category includes marine and transportation. The market for biocomposites accounted for major revenue share of more than 25.0% in the construction application in 2017. The largest share of the category is owing to the large-scale consumption of these composites in non-load bearing applications of housing industry such as trimmings, kitchenware, vanities, and cladding.
Regionally, APAC was the largest biocomposites market, accounting for more than 35.0% revenue share in 2017. The major drivers for regional market growth are increasing adoption for lightweight materials in the aerospace and automotive industry, growing demand for corrosion and chemical resistance materials in construction industry, pipe and tank industry, and electrical resistivity and high flame-retardant materials demand in electrical and electronics industry.
Biocomposites Market Dynamics
The major trend observed in the biocomposites market is the changing consumer preference from plastic composites to eco-friendly composites.
Traditionally, plastic composites were highly used in various end-use industries. However, owing to the environmental impacts of these composites (carbon fiber and glass fiber) such as greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, air pollution, and landfill issues, researchers and scientists shifted toward development of composites derived from natural sources. Natural composites have several advantages over synthetic composites such as lower cost, lower environmental impacts, and higher fiber content that results in reducing pollution. Hence, due to the cheap, recyclable, and biodegradable nature, consumer preference is changing from plastic composites to eco-friendly composites, thus forming the major trend in the biocomposites market.
Automotive industry is witnessing rising demand for lightweight materials to develop fuel efficient vehicles that meets government standards (such as CAFÉ standards of 54.5 mpg by 2025 and European Union (EU) mandate of CO2 emission to the level of 95g/km by 2020). Bio-based composites are not only lightweight, but they also reduce dependence on non-renewable resources such as conventional petroleum-based polymeric plastics, which are fossil-fuel materials. Also, these composites provide huge energy and cost savings for manufacturers. These factors have prompted Ford Motor Co. and other automobile manufacturers to invest in bio-based composites research, thus fueling the growth of the biocomposites market.
The NFCs are highly used in interior parts of automobiles such as doors, driver cabins, windows, and dashboards. The WPCs are mainly used for rear shelves and trims for trunks, spare wheels, seat bases, and headliners, as well as in interior trims for doors. Hence, owing to increasing usage of bio-based composites in automobiles, almost all North American and European automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) have chalked out ambitious weight reduction plans in response to stricter environmental regulations. Hence, there is increasing demand for bio-based composites in construction of automotive interior and exterior parts, which in turn driving the growth of the biocomposites market.
The NFCs are emerging as lightweight and environmentally superior alternatives to glass as well as carbon fibers. These are environmentally superior to glass fiber composites as: production of natural fiber causes lower environmental impacts compared to glass fiber production, natural fibers have higher fiber content and reduce more polluting base polymer content, the lightweight NFCs improve fuel efficiency and reduce GHG emissions, especially in auto applications, and end of life incineration of natural fibers results in recovered energy and carbon credit. Hence, these advantages of NFCs surge its demand globally, thus accelerating the biocomposites market growth.
Glass fiber is still in use, owing to its properties, such as easy availability, low cost, and durability, derives its demand in many industries such as aerospace, automobile, construction, electrical insulation, and telecommunication. Apart from glass fiber, carbon fiber, also called as graphite fiber, is a strong and lightweight polymer, which has high stiffness, high tensile strength, high chemical-resistance, and low thermal expansion. These properties surge carbon fiber demand in aerospace, military, automotive, and recreational applications. Thus, availability of alternatives to bio-based composites, such as glass fiber and carbon fiber, is the major restraining factor in the growth of the biocomposites market.
Biocomposites Market Competitive Landscape
Some of the major players operating in the global biocomposites market are Meshlin Composites ZRT, Alpas SRL, MCG Bio Composites LLC, Trex Company Inc., Flexform Technologies, Jelu-Werk J. Ehrler GmbH & Co. Kg, Green Bay Decking LLC, Universal Forest Products Inc., Fiberon LLC, and Tecnaro GmbH.