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Rising Demand for Sustainable Polymers, New Players Entering PBAT Market in Asia

Rising Demand for Sustainable Polymers, New Players Entering PBAT Market in Asia

  • 22-Sep-2021 6:00 PM
  • Journalist: Yage Kwon

The demand for biodegradable polymers is rising globally with countries continuously looking forward towards sustainable material solutions. Polybutylene Adipate Co-Terephthalate (PBAT) is particularly high in demand. With the rise in demand for PBAT globally new players are entering the PBAT market in Asia in order to meet the growing demand. 

In South Korea, LG Chem is building a 50000 tonnes per year PBAT plant which is set to become operational in 2024. The proposed plant is a part of $2.2 billion sustainability-focused investment program in Seosan. 

Similarly, SK Geocentric, formerly known as SK Global Chemical and Kolon Industries are coming together in a joint venture of 50000 tonnes per year PBAT plant in Seoul. In the partnership, Kolon which is a Nylon and Polyester maker will be providing production technology whereas SK Geocentric will provide raw materials. 

PBAT demand rise is highest in China. The major Chinese chemical distributor OKCHEM projects that Chinese PBAT production will rise to 400000 tonnes per year in 2022 from the current 150000 tonnes per year. The biggest Chinese project in the pipeline is the upcoming Hengli biodegradable plastics plant of production capacity 450000 tonnes per year. 

PBAT is a biodegradable polymer which is derived from common petrochemicals including Purified Terephthalic Acid (PTA), Butanediol, and Adipic acid. The major applications of PBAT include food packaging, mulch films etc. The global demand for PBAT stood at around 500 kilotons in 2020 and is expected to grow at a healthy CAGR of around 10% during the upcoming years. 

As per ChemAnalyst, “with the rising demand for sustainable polymers globally, the demand for PBAT which is one of the most versatile biodegradable polymers is expected to rise exponentially with a double digit growth rate. With the expected demand growth, new players will surely enter the market especially in Asia which holds the largest share of global market for PBAT.”

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