The global automotive bioplastic market is expected to witness significant growth on account of their increasing adoption to reduce the weight of cars, as they have much less weight as compared to conventional counterparts. The demand for this material is expected to rise, owing to its superior characteristics such as less dependency on changes in the oil market, and the ability to reduce CO2 emissions by reducing overall car weight. Recyclability of these materials is also likely to provide them a competitive edge over traditional plastics.
These materials are made from renewable plant-based fibers, which are almost 25% less in weight as compared to non-renewable fibers. Some of the commonly used feedstock in making bioplastics are tapioca, corn starch, and soybeans. As a result of increasing awareness of pollution and waste management, companies are working towards finding eco-friendly methods of vehicle manufacturing. On average, a car has more than 20,000 components made from plastics. Bioplastics can be extensively used in various car parts such as ventilation ducts, floor mats, side trims, deck trim covers, headliners, inner & outer scuff plates, and seat cushion foam. Automotive majors like Ford and Aptiv PLC are investing heavily in synthesizing environmentally-friendly plastics to be used in their cars.
A supportive government outlook on the use of biopolymers and bioplastics is expected to promote the growth of this market. Regulatory bodies such as REACH and EPA have imposed various regulations and legislation to reduce CO2 emissions and environmental imbalance. The rising awareness of the impacts of the carbon footprint on the environment is expected to help the growth of the automotive bioplastic market.
Governments across various countries are promoting bioplastics, owing to their social impacts. As bioplastics are made from plant-based fibers, it would open new opportunities for the development of the agricultural sector. The social and political problems that take place due to oil deals would reduce and improve the environmental balance. This is expected to increase the demand for bioplastics across various sectors including automotive. However, the high production cost of bioplastics as compared to the traditional materials is expected to hinder the market growth over the projected period.
Automotive bioplastics can be segmented on the basis of material type into natural fibers, bio-polyamides (Bio-pa), poly-lactic acid, and its composites, polybutylene succinate (PBS), and bio-based polypropylene (Bio-pp). Bio-pp is expected to account for a major share in the market as it can replace polypropylene in various applications such as lateral sidings, air-conditioning systems, air ducts, bumpers, rockers & body panels, dashboards, pressure vessels, and battery covers. The market can be further segmented on the basis of application into interior parts and exterior parts. Bioplastics are used in exterior parts such as hoods, bumpers, trim, liftgates, and exterior lights. They are used in interior parts such as door consoles & panels, fabrics & upholstery, interior lighting, instrument panels, seats, floor mats, ventilation ducts, and seat cushion foam.
The industry in countries in North America and Europe is anticipated to witness high growth owing to high investments by companies such as Ford, Mazda, General Motors, Fiat, Lexus, Daimler & Mercedes Benz, Porsche, and BMW in the innovation of techniques for usage of bioplastics in their cars. Major innovations include the usage of agave plastic fibers by Ford, usage of wood-based Bio-PP by General Motors for making shelving and trims, and usage of bio-fabrics by Mazda in its seat covers. Japan-based companies such as Toyota and Mitsubishi are also using bioplastics up to 60% in interior parts and 20% in exterior parts of their cars. Furthermore, the strategy of expanding operations to other countries in the Asia Pacific adopted by many players is expected to promote the growth of the automotive bioplastic industry.
Various technological institutions are working on manufacturing automobiles with bioplastics. In 2019, the researchers of Eindhoven University of Technology, Netherlands built a car made of 100% bioplastics. Its body is weatherproof and made entirely of Poly-Lactic acid (PLA) with a maximum speed of 100 km/h and 25% lesser weight than a conventional car. The researchers are also working on the synthesis of paints for cars to be made of bioplastics and biopolymers.
The major players in this market are Agrana, Anellotech, Archers Daniels Midland, BASF, Biosphere plastic, Bosk Bioproducts, Cornmare, Covestro, Danimer Scientific, DowDupont, GC Innovation America, Mitsubishi Chemicals, Roquette, Succinity, Taghleef Industries, Mitsui chemicals, METGEN, Yield10 Bioscience, and Sojetz Pla-Net. These companies are working in partnership with automotive majors for usage and innovation in the automotive bioplastics industry.
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The global COVID-19 pandemic has led to a sudden pause to manufacturing activities across the globe, affecting the demand for plastics and also production & processing of them. The most critically impacted end-use segments of the plastics industry include automotive & transportation, consumer goods, industrial equipment, construction, and electronics. The report will account for Covid19 as a key market contributor.