Polypropylene (PP) is a thermoplastic polymer with a melting point of approximately 165°C. The higher melting point of polypropylene makes it eligible for use in certain plastic items such as medical products and dishwasher safe containers. Bio based polypropylene have similar characteristics to synthetic polypropylene, but is manufactured from bio-based raw materials such as corn, sugarcane, and beet. Bio based propylene are used across several industries such as automobiles, textiles, packaging, medical devices, and pipe systems. Due to good fatigue properties, polypropylene are also used in plastic living hinges, such as those on flip-top bottles.
Increasing demand for lightweight materials in several industry sectors and supportive regulatory and political environment are the key drivers for bio based polypropylene market. Based on application, bio based polypropylene market can be classified into four major categories: injection, textile, films, and others. Injection application segment accounted for more than 50% share of the bio based polypropylene market in 2013.
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Injection molding is use in several industries such as automotive, medical, aerospace, consumer products, toys, construction, packaging, and plumbing. The textile industry in developing countries has been growing at over 6% annually; thereby laying the foundation of growth opportunities for bio based polypropylene market. Bio based polypropylene can be stretched and extruded to form biaxially oriented polypropylene films which are used as a sustainable packaging material for industries such as snack foods, confectionaries, and fresh vegetables.
Bio based polypropylene has emerged as a substitute to synthetic polypropylene due to increasing environmental concerns regarding the use of latter. The health hazards associated with the production and use of polypropylene derived from fossil fuels have led to boost in the demand for bio based polypropylene. However, the bio based polypropylene market is currently in the nascent stage and is growing at a significant pace.
The rising prices of petroleum-based chemicals due to a volatile crude oil market have been further encouraging the polypropylene end-users to switch to bio based propylene. The depleting crude oil levels are also opening up opportunities for bio-based chemicals market. The governments across the globe have been encouraging the bio based chemical manufacturers by providing them subsidies. The cost effectiveness of bio propylene is another important driver for its growth.
Bio based polypropylene are obtained from bio based propylene, which is manufactured from several bio sources such as corn, biomass, and vegetable oil. The two key methods of propylene production include fermentation and gasification. Bio based polypropylene manufactured from the ethanol derived from sugarcane is expected to witness strong growth in the market due to its high acceptability. Europe dominated the global bio based polypropylene market in 2013, followed by North America and Asia Pacific. The demand for polypropylene has been growing at a considerable pace in the packaging industry in China. Trellis Earth Products, Inc. is the largest bio based polypropylene company globally.