The rate of return was exceptionally high, especially for the WPC part of the study, with companies responsible for over 50% of extruded volume taking part in the survey. This means that the study covers roughly 65 European WPC extruding companies in 21 countries. In addition, more than 50 European companies using injection moulding, compression moulding and other processing technologies were included in the survey, as well as producers of WPC and NFC granulates.
Total production of biocomposites
Table I summarises the results of the survey, showing all Wood-Plastic Composites and Natural Fibre Composites produced in the European Union, including all sectors, applications and processing technologies.
Decking and automotive are the most important application sectors for WPC, followed by siding and fencing. Only the automotive sector is relevant for Natural Fibre Composites (NFC) today. The share of WPC and NFC in the total composite market – including glass, carbon, wood and Natural Fibre Composites – is already an impressive 15%. Even higher shares are to be expected in the future: NFC are starting to enter other markets than just the automotive industry. WPC granulates for injection moulding are now produced and offered by global players and are becoming more attractive for clients that manufacture consumer goods, automotive and technical parts.
With increasing polymer prices and expected incentives for bio-based products (the “bio-based economy” is one of the lead markets in Europe) this trend will go from strength to strength, resulting in two-digit growth and increasing market shares over the coming decade.