Lux Research: New Bio-based Materials and Chemicals Offer Performance Advantages Over Petro-Based

While bio-based solutions earned past skepticism, the next generation can offer high value in specialty chemicals, biopolymers and advanced materials

Despite a checkered past, bio-based materials and chemicals (BBMC) today offer a clear value proposition when compared with their petro-based counterparts, but smart business execution is critical to eventual success, according to Lux Research.

“With demonstrated performance benefits over petroleum-derived incumbents in uses from lubricants to personal care, opportunities exist for companies to utilize improved bio-based options,” said Ross Kozarsky, Lux Research Senior Analyst and co-author of the report titled, “Hunting for Value and Performance in the Bio-based Materials and Chemicals Space.”

“Specialty chemicals, biopolymers, and advanced materials are all promising areas of technology development, but smart business execution is just as critical – so we set out to highlight downstream applications where these innovations offer concrete value propositions,” he added.

Lux Research analysts evaluated bio-based players on the Lux Innovation Grid, focusing on six areas: advanced materials, adhesives, coatings, lubricants, personal care and cosmetics, and packaging. Among their findings:

Mature lubricants space offers partnership and acquisition targets. Biosynthetic Technologies – placed in the “Dominant” quadrant – recently got a $115 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and would be a good fit for partners pursuing an established company generating products with existing market traction. Meanwhile, “Long shot” Altranex scores above average in technology and is a worthwhile acquisition target.

Environmental concerns drive coatings. Regulators are pushing to cut volatile organic compounds (VOC) in coatings, creating opportunity for diverse bio-based technologies that reduce or even eliminate VOC. In this space BioAmber is among the “Dominant” firms while “Long shots” TopChim and Novomer boast promising technology.

Sustainability programs bolster packaging. Biopolymers offer niches for companies seeking sustainable packaging solutions in markets like the $6.2 billion market for petroleum-based PET in bottles, jars and tubs. Avantium is one to watch for its technology as much as for its partnerships with Coca-Cola and Danone. Micromidas is a “Long shot” for its catalytic process that may be quicker and simpler than incumbent methods.

The report, titled “Hunting for Value and Performance in the Bio-based Materials and Chemicals Space,” is part of the Lux Research Bio-based Materials and Chemicals Intelligence service.


About Lux Research

Lux Research provides strategic advice and ongoing intelligence for emerging technologies. Leaders in business, finance and government rely on us to help them make informed strategic decisions. Through our unique research approach focused on primary research and our extensive global network, we deliver insight, connections and competitive advantage to our clients.


Lux Research, press release, 2016-09-15.


Avantium Technologies B.V.
Coca-Cola Co.
Danone Dairies UK
Lux Research, Inc.
Micromidas Inc.
US Department of Agriculture (USDA)


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