EU’s Joint Research Centre publishes report on biobased chemicals

By Erin Voegele | January 31, 2019

The European Commission’s Joint Research Centre published a report in January that details the potential of biobased chemicals in European Union markets and predicts production will grow by approximately 3.6 percent annually from 2018 to 2025.

Within the report, scientists describe 10 key biobased chemical product categories, their market production and consumption levels for the EU, their level of maturity on the market, and the main drivers of and constraints to their future production.

The 10 product categories include platform chemicals; solvents; polymers for plastics; paints, coatings, inks and dyes; surfactants; cosmetic and personal care products; adhesives; lubricants; plasticizers; and man-made fibers. A statement released by the EC notes that based on detailed methodology, market data and expert opinions, the authors estimate that overall EU biobased production accounts for approximately 1.7 Mt of biobased chemicals per year, equivalent to approximately 3 percent of the total market for the 10 key products.  

Within the report, the authors identify production costs as the main barrier to growth of the biobased chemicals market. They also note that some biobased chemicals are still considered to be risky in terms of upfront investments in infrastructure or future sales.

According to the report, policy interventions aimed at stimulating these markets could be oriented toward investment incentives, such as grants, loans, and guarantees, or by making the production of fossil-fuel counterparts more expensive, such as through carbon taxes. Another option would be to make the use of biobased chemicals mandatory in some industries, thus boosting demand.

A full copy of the report can be downloaded from the European Commission website.