As per the reports given by Reuters, in U.S. the chemicals and plastics manufacturers from the plant substance are getting benefits from shale gas, which is in turn impacting today’s global petrochemical industry.
In U.S energy companies, there is an increase of the capacity in turning cheap gas into ethylene, which is a basic hydrocarbon used to make solvents, plastics and detergents. Since some of the hydrocarbons derived from crude oil are becoming more expensive and are less in supply, there is a huge demand for specialty chemical companies that make materials such as synthetic rubber, insulation foam and diaper absorbents from plant matter.
According to the reports, some of the major chemical companies in U.S such as BASF, Mitsubishi Chemical, Lanxess and Solvay have grouped with biotech firms to work on new strains of bacteria and fungi that can turn plant material into chemical building blocks.
As per Morgan Stanley a multinational financial service corporation, the market of the global bioplastics might grow upto 40 percent per year on an average through 2020 to become a $30 billion industry.
The concerns about oil scarcity and also the demand for renewable substances from the consumers have become the major drivers of bioplastics researchers who are into production of shale gas by hydraulic fracturing.
In U.S, the petrochemical industry is building new steam crackers which gives better facilities to convert gas into ethylene, since the price of natural gas was 50% plunge over the past four years. For example, Naphtha crackers are one of the main contributors of heavier petrochemicals such as propylene or butadiene, which have more carbon atoms per molecule than ethylene.
According to the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers association, the ethylene capacity in the city might increase by 30 percent by 2017.
As per the reports from an analyst of Morgan Stanley, the more usage of ethane cracking will lead to an ongoing shortage of higher carbon chemicals such as propylene or butadiene.
Report also tells that in the next four years, shale gas will not be the factor for an increase in bioplastics production. Instead the company such as Coco-cola will switch to a renewable, plant-based bottle from the ethylene that goes into PET plastics.
To reduce the costs, bioplastics developers are booming the biofuels industry, by relying on enzymes that are already developed by companies such as Novozymes and DuPont to break starch into sugars.
Due to the steady progress in bioengineering over the past decade, there are hopes that bioplastics can become cost-competitive with the petrochemicals sector.