The global bio-based chemical and polymer production (excluding bio-fuels) is currently estimated to be around 50 million tons. Compared to petrochemical based chemicals such as polyethylene, di-acids, diols, etc their use is miniscule but fast growing. Some examples of bio-based chemicals are non-food starch, regenerated cellulose fibers and derivatives, bio PET, Bio PE, PLA, PHA, bio-degradable polyesters, bio-fuels, bio fertilizers, bio enzymes, fatty acids and fermentation products such as ethanol and citric acid.

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Key Motivators of Bio-based Chemicals Market
For bio-based chemicals to compete against traditional petrochemicals products in terms of market and growth is definitely not easy. The growth, though slow, is however steady. A strong focus on consumer preference for products that are environment-friendly and bio-degradable and government mandates are helping the bio-based chemicals market to grow. High oil price is further motivating the growth of bio-based chemicals and polymers. The renewable resources of bio-energy and bio-fuels are produced as a result of development of bio-based building blocks (chemicals and polymers) and materials (fibre products, start derivatives, etc). According to estimates, for the global chemical industry, production of bio-based products could generate revenue worth $10-15 billion.

In addition to those mentioned above, there are a number of other drivers that are impacting the industry positively. These include the need for a global economy that is environmentally, economically and socially sustainable; limited reserves of non-renewable resources such as oil, gas, coal which are expected to reach their peak production; countries that are dependent on other nations for their fuel and energy resources are especially keen to find alternatives that can be commercialized soon; climate change and carbon emissions have resulted in increased focus on producing environment friendly alternatives and the wide use of these bio-based chemicals is also expected to have a positive effect on regional and rural development across global economies.

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With the immense focus on the industry and the benefits and incentives provided by the government, there is hardly any doubt regarding its growth. Some of the challenges that are expected to restrict the industry include competition from petrochemicals-based chemicals, quality, consistency and cost of production. Production requires huge amount of investments resulting in slow growth.

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