Polylactic acid or PLA is a biodegradable thermoplastic aliphatic polyester made from renewable sources such as corn, starch, tapioca roots, sugarcane and others. PLA is produced using two monomers – lactic acid and lactide. There are two common methods used to produce PLA. First method is the polymerization of lactide with metal catalysts and another method involves condensation of lactic acid.
Some critics asserted that the use of above food products should be prohibited for production of plastics. The Dutch company, Corbion Purac, started production of PLA using sources such as corn stover, bagasse, wood chips and wheat straw. The company admitted that further research and development is needed to speed up the process of commercialization of PLA.
The world PLA market is classified by application into packaging, textile, agriculture, electronics, bio-medical and others. PLA was dominantly used for packaging application in 2014 due to its unique thermal and barrier properties.
Geographically, the global polylactic acid market is segmented into North America, Asia-Pacific, Europe and Latin America, Middle East & Africa (LAMEA). Among these regions, North America was the largest consumer of PLA in 2014 with market share of 49.6% of global market. Asia–pacific market would grow at the highest rate till 2020, owing to its increasing adoption in countries such as China, Japan, Thailand and others.
Easy availability of raw materials, unique physical properties, consumer awareness and supportive government policies are key driving factors for growth of world polylactic acid market. However, the need for industrial composting and higher cost of PLA as compared to synthetic plastics are challenges companies need to overcome to gain the stronghold of market. There are many studies have been done that analyze present market trends and opportunities for market growth in future. Recently, Big Market Research adds a report titled “WorldPolylactic Acid Market - Opportunities and Forecast, 2014–2020.” The report provides an in-depth analysis of changing market dynamics of global polylactic acid industry.
The key manufacturers profiled in this report includes NatureWorks LLC (USA), Synbra (Netherlands), Corbion Purac (Netherlands), Hisun Biomaterials (China), Nantong Jiuding Biological Engineering Co. Ltd. (China), Futerro (China) and Chongqing Bofei Biochemical Products Co. Ltd. (China).
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