New Publication – Bio-Based Chemicals – a 2020 Update

Mar 2020

Since the first issue of the IEA Bioenergy Task 42 report on bio-based chemicals in 2011, the importance of a circular economy has become evident. In the transition to a circular economy, chemicals and materials produced from biomass will play a key role. Given the tremendous focus on climate and actions to mitigate climate change, steps are being taken to move from today’s fossil-based economy to a more sustainable economy based on renewable energy, biomass and recycling. This IEA Bioenergy Task 42 report shows that global bio-based chemical and polymer production is estimated to be around 90 million tonnes. However, the relatively low price of fossil feedstocks as well as its volatility together with optimized fossil-based production processes has hampered the acceleration of the commercial production of bio-based products as projected in the previous bio-based chemicals report from 2011. In addition to increased recycling, enlarged chemical and polymer production from renewable resources is an essential part of the transition to a circular economy. As it is evident from this report, not many major chemical players are actively pursuing this approach and that deployment over the last several years has been much slower than expected.