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

Lux Research

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

BOSTON, MA – September 15, 2016 – 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.