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November 29, 2012

Lux Research Issues Report on the Demand for Bio-Based Materials

Lynn L. Bergeson

On November 20, 2012, Lux Research Inc. released a report entitled Bridging the Divide between Demands and Bio-Based Materials, in which the properties and commercial attractiveness of 38 applications and 21 conventional and bio-based polymers were assessed on 13 criteria, with three demand areas promising opportunity, according to Lux. Lux states that materials that fail to connect with end-user demands never reach the commercialization stage. Lux recommends that developers target large, addressable markets, among which the biggest are composites and coatings, industrial manufactured intermediates, and packaging. Lux notes that developers must offer bio-based alternatives at cost parity, offer more bio-based drop-in monomers, and continue to close performance gaps on temperature distortion and brittleness, as well as advance bio-based polymers beyond their reputation as merely “disposable.” Lux urges developers to meet or exceed expectations on cost and performance and be smart during roll-out. Kalib Kersh, a Lux analyst, stated that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) would expand the market for biobased chemicals if it fulfills its pledge to certify intermediates through its BioPreferred Program. During a recent conference held by the Society for the Commercial Development of Industrial Biotechnology, a USDA spokesperson stated that USDA intends to cover intermediates in its Program.