Aug 14, 2021

Polymer market set to boom with Asia Pacific driving growth

energy
polymers
Sustainability
Thailand
Dominic Ellis
3 min
Strong forecasts for polymer sector coincide with Thailand announcing $600 million bio-complex

The global polymer market size is expected to increase from $533.6 billion in 2019 to $838.5 billion by 2030, at a 5.1% CAGR between 2020 and 2030.

Polymers have excellent electrical, mechanical, insulating, optical, and chemical properties, as well as a high strength-to-weight ratio and elasticity and corrosion resistance.

With time, almost 30% of all automotive components are now being made from polymers. Moreover, with the rising demand for electric vehicles, the polymer market will grow further, as these materials are used to make lightweight battery packs. As a result of the growing concerns regarding air pollution, the need for lightweight vehicles, preferably electric variants, is driving the demand for polymers.

During the COVID-19 crisis, automotive plants across the world were shut down, in compliance with government mandates. This drastically reduced the demand for various raw materials, thus affecting the polymer market negatively. However, the demand for these materials in the food processing, packaging, pharmaceutical, and personal care sectors remained strong, as these industries are considered essential, therefore continued to operate during the pandemic.

Polymer Market Segmentation Analysis


The thermoplastics category, based on type, held the largest share in the polymer market in the past. The cost efficiency, high mechanical strength, and manufacturing ease of thermoplastics have made them vastly popular in the food packaging, construction, textile, automotive, and home appliance industries.

In the coming years, the polyethylene (PE) category, under the base material segment, will witness the highest value CAGR in the polymer market, of 5.6%. PE accounts for a high-volume consumption in the production of tubing products, packaging products, bottles, connectors, and plastic surgical implants, as a result of its high flexibility, stability, heat resistance, and impact resistance.

Packaging is projected to continue being the largest category in the polymer market, under segmentation by application, throughout this decade. As polymers offer protection, appreciable flexibility, and high shock, vibration, and surface abrasion resistance to products, they are replacing conventional packaging materials.

Presently, Asia-Pacific (APAC) is the most-productive polymer market, and it is also set to grow the fastest in the years to come.

GC International Corporation Company, a subsidiary of PTT Global Chemical Public Company Limited (GC) and Cargill Incorporated (Cargill), joint owners of NatureWorks LLC (NatureWorks), recently announced the construction of a new fully-integrated biopolymer production facility in Thailand to meet increased demand for sustainable materials in the global market, after receiving investment promotion approval from the Thailand Board of Investment (BOI) in May.

The new fully integrated biopolymer production facility will use the world's most advanced biopolymer technology and sugar from Thai sugarcane farmers as raw materials, which will expand partnerships in the bio-polymer market including the production and development of various products to meet demand for the sustainable use of materials.

With an investment value in excess of US$600 million (20 billion baht), the production facility, to be located at the Nakhon Sawan Bio-complex (NBC) in Nakhon Sawan Province, will be the first bio-complex in Thailand established in accordance with the BCG Economy model.

Cyclyx International, a consortium-based feedstock management company with a mission to increase the recycling rate of plastic from 10% to 90%, has announced that LyondellBasell has joined Cyclyx as a founding member.

One of the world's largest producers of plastics and chemicals, LyondellBasell has pledged to produce and market two million metric tons of recycled and renewable-based polymers annually by 2030.

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