Polyhydroxybutyrate-co-hydroxyvalerate (PHBV) is a biodegradable polymer produced by microorganisms such as bacteria. It offers excellent biodegradability, biocompatibility, and mechanical properties that makes it potential substitute for petroleum-derived polymers. It is used in applications such as specialty packaging, agriculture, orthopedic devices, and controlled drug release.
About 300 million tons of plastics is consumed each year, which is currently 13% of total waste generated globally. As per OECD, the amount of plastic waste is expected to be thrice and reach 1,014 million tons by 2060. Utilization of bio-based polymer materials has been increasing at a fast pace owing to support from stringent government regulations, further R&D strategies towards new product development such as PHBV are some of the driving factors towards the growth of the market.
PHBV has mechanical properties which is close to polypropylene and polystyrene, and its compliance with food contact material regulations makes it suitable to replace conventional plastics in the rigid food packaging industry. Also, PHBV is preferred in medical industry due to its durability, resistance to chemical and biological corrosion, non-toxic, and low production cost. It is used in scaffolds for tissue engineering, including cartilage, and bone repair. It can also be applied in agriculture and horticulture for biodegradable cultivation. Another example of PHBV is in self-heal concrete for basement and tunnels. Cracks in the concrete are automatically filled which reduces cost and environmental impact.
Several governments around the world have introduced regulations and initiatives to reduce plastic scraps and promote the use of sustainable materials. For example, the European Union's Single-Use Plastics Directive and China's ban on plastic scraps imports have created opportunities for the PHBV market.
The Polyhydroxybutyrate-co-hydroxyvalerate (PHBV) market is broadly segmented into waste type and application. The waste type is segmented into sewage sludge, industrial waste water, and food waste. Furthermore, application segment includes packaging, agriculture, medical, and cement.
Since, the product is still in R&D phase, hence, players operating in the market are evaluating strategies in order to enhance the productivity and commercialize it on a larger scale. For instance, in September 2020, STOWA, Paques, and sustainable waste energy company HVC partnered to build a demonstration plant PHARIO in Dordrecht, Netherlands for the production of PHBV. Wastewater constitutes fatty acids and the sludge contains bacteria. These bacteria bond with fatty acids to generate PHBV. The PHBV is then extracted and remaining powder can be utilized in various applications. Companies operating in the plastic industry are continuously developing sustainable polymer materials which is expected to propel the growth of the PHBV market in the near future.
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