Bio-based Solutions of the Future

Bio-based Solutions of the Future
Multiple market applications are being targeted that broadens the horizon further for bio-based materials.
Climate change is real. It is happening right now. It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating. We need to support leaders around the world who do not speak for the big polluters, but who speak for all of humanity, for the indigenous people of the world, for the billions and  billions of underprivileged people out there who would be most affected by this. For our children’s children and for those people out there whose voices have been drowned out by the politics of greed.I thank you all for this amazing award tonight. Let us not take this planet for granted. I do not take tonight for granted. Thank you so very much

Leonardo DiCaprio, Acceptance speech at Oscar Awards 2016

If DiCaprio didn’t have enough fans already, he definitely earned many more after making this speech! The actor’s fan following of course is a subject for discussion on other forums. Here, we must focus on the environmental aspects and how it is impacting the world of chemicals.

Bio-based or renewable alternatives to petrol-based chemicals have already made significant inroads into this industry and this segment has consistently been on the rise. The Global Renewable Chemicals Market is projected1 to reach USD 84.3 Billion by 2020 (CAGR of 11.47% between 2015 and 2020).

To give a sense of how significant this market value is, let’s look at the stats for Specialty Chemicals Market. It is projected2 to reach USD 470 Billion by 2020 (CAGR of 5.42% between 2015 and 2020). Interesting to note here is that the renewable chemicals market, which is one-fifth the size of specialty chemicals, is expected to grow at double the pace during the same time frame!


Top Bio-based Materials of 2016

There are several interesting bio-based solutions that exist in the market. At the 9th International Conference on Bio-based Materials held recently in Germany, winners for the Bio-based Material of the Year 2016 were declared. Organized by the Nova-institut, the competition focused on new developments in the bio-based economy, which have had (or will have) a market launch in 2015 or 2016. The following table lists the nominees and the winners along with details of their innovative products.
Product, Company, Country Renewable content Feedstock Application Status
Touch of Nature™, Orineo – Belgium
Bio-based resin
75%-80% Coffee beans, berries, cork powder, olive leaves Countertop at an espresso bar opened by OR Coffee in Ghent, Belgium WINNER
Impranil® eco, Covestro – Germany
Waterborne PUDs
43%-65% (renewable carbon content) Non-fossil-based inputs, i.e. not in direct competition with the food chain. Designed for textile coating but not commercial yet. Samples available in 2016, commercial availability depends on market feedback WINNER
REWOFERM® SL 446, Evonik Nutrition & Care GmbH – Germany Sophorolipid-type biosurfactant 100% (biodegradable under both aerobic and anaerobic conditions) European sourced sugar and oil (fermentation with a natural, non-GMO yeast) Commercial product for home and fabric-care formulations WINNER
Tetra Rex® Bio-based, Tetra Pak International S.A.
Renewable package for chilled liquid food
>80% Bio-ethanol derived entirely from sugarcane; Wood fibers used for paperboard Tetra Rex® milk carton in 1000 ml size launched in January 2015. 100 million packs are expected to be delivered globally in 2016. NOMINEE
Myralene™-10, Amyris, Inc. – US
Solvent made from β-farnesene  
100% Sugarcane juice from Brazil (can move to cellulosic or next gen feedstocks) Cleaning solvent (graffiti-, ink-, tar-, adhesive- remover; paint strippers; metal cleaning fluids, etc.) NOMINEE
SIPDRILL RS, SIP Ltd. – UK Renewable alkene-based drilling base fluid   73%-85% β-Farnesene derived from sustainable sugar sources Production and sales of SIPDRILL RS expected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2016. NOMINEE

What does the future hold?

The best way to know the commercial bio-based solutions of the future is to take a look at the ongoing R&D projects. There are several interesting European bio-based projects that are working on developing innovative new solutions.

Click here and take a look at the details of some of the interesting results of recently concluded projects.


It is quite exciting to see several new and innovative ideas being brought one step closer to reality through these projects. Also, good to see that multiple market applications are being targeted that broadens the horizon further for bio-based materials. As I wrap up this overview, I would leave you with the following piece of interesting and important news:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced10 the availability of $21 million for Bioeconomy R&D. This is a step taken further by the Obama administration to strengthen the US bioeconomy. So far European Bioeconomy has been leading the way and with this latest investment, US Bioeconomy could flourish further as well. A lot has been done in the field of biofuels. America has more than doubled its renewable energy production, and is importing less than half its oil. USDA has also worked to strengthen markets for bio-based products with almost 2,500 products that have the USDA’s BioPreferred label. In 2016, the aim is to support the development of regional systems in sustainable bioenergy and bio-based products, as well as education and training for the next generation of scientists.