Sponsored By
Karen Laird

September 5, 2016

3 Min Read
Growth chemicals market spurred by sustainable chemistry

BCC Research, a leading market research company with a focus on science and technology, recently published a new report entitled Alternative Chemical Products and Processing that offers both a comprehensive overview and an in-depth analysis of the current and forecast market through 2026 for alternative chemicals and processes that have emerged from the green chemistry movement.

This movement,  which has evolved on the basis of the twelve principles of green chemistry, reflects the  transition that is currently ongoing from a resource-based industry to a knowledge-based industry. Green chemistry, or sustainable chemistry, as it is also known, is defined by the US Environmental Protection Agency, among others, as the ‘design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the use or generation of hazardous substances.’ Hence green chemistry principles promote products and processes that are less harmful to humans and the environment by relying on renewable, rather than depletable, resources and by designing chemical syntheses and products to prevent waste and to maximize efficiency and safety. These principles apply across the life cycle of a chemical product, including its design, manufacture, use, and ultimate disposal.

The alternative chemical products developed on the basis of the principles of green chemistry include chemicals produced from biobased feedstocks, as well as end-use chemical products that incorporate both bio-based chemicals and green chemistry principles (i.e., end-use chemical products include cleaning products derived from bio-based ingredients and solvent-free cleaning products).

According to this latest study, the market for green chemistry is set to outpace the overall global chemical market over the next decade, as companies seek to reduce their use and generation of hazardous substances, creating safer products and lowering the impact of processes on human health and the environment. The impetus for market growth stems from a combination of tightening regulations and demand from consumers for more sustainable products. The EPA continues to facilitate the adoption of this revolutionary and diverse discipline, which should to lead to significant environmental benefits, innovation and a strengthened economy.

Rising fossil fuel feedstock costs and stricter environmental regulatory controls are incentivizing manufacturers to use green chemistry technologies to offset the large capital investment required to change and/or upgrade current equipment and facilities. For the chemical industry, the continuous change in environmental matters means both new risks and new business opportunities. However, chemical producers are increasingly more aware that preventing pollution makes as much business sense as spending less on raw materials and capturing more market share.

Alternative chemical products also offer the chemical industry new market opportunities in an otherwise stagnant marketplace dominated by big companies. In the alternative chemical segment, smaller players can compete with global conglomerates and gain market share quickly for specialty niche products. However, many dominant alternative chemical manufacturers are already making substantial footholds in these emerging markets.

“While petrochemical and inorganic chemicals will continue to be produced in high quantities, there will be less reliance on these products as competing products appear,” says BCC Research analyst Christopher Maara. “Higher petrochemical costs will also make alternative chemical products more cost-competitive with traditional products. Alternative chemicals and alternative chemical end-use products will provide manufacturers with lucrative market opportunities in the next 10 years.”

According to the present study, the total alternative U.S. chemical end-use product market should reach $149.9 billion and $884.1 billion in 2016 and 2026, respectively, reflecting a 10-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19.4%. Pharmaceuticals as a segment is estimated to increase from $27 billion in 2016 to $96.2 billion in 2026, growing at a 10-year CAGR of 13.5%. Alternative packaging products are projected to reach $25 billion and $232.1 billion in 2016 and 2026, respectively, demonstrating a 10-year CAGR of 25%. The market for alternative cleaning and detergent products, estimated at $29.3 billion in 2016, should reach $158.7 billion in 2026 on a 10-year CAGR of 18.4%.

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