As just discussed, the production and use of 150,000 tonnes biocomposites (using 80,000 tonnes of wood and natural fibres) in the automotive sector in 2012 could expand to over 600,000 tonnes of biocomposites in 2020, using 150,000 tonnes of wood and natural fibres each along with some recycled cotton. Yet this fast development will not take place if there are no major political incentives to increase the bio-based share of the materials used in cars. Without incentives we forecast that production will only increase to 200,000 tonnes.
Huge percentage increases can also be expected for WPC and NFC granulates used in injection moulding for all kind of technical and consumer goods. With improved technical properties, lower prices and bigger suppliers capable of supporting their customers, we forecast a growth from the tiny amount of 15,000 tonnes in 2012 to 100,000 tonnes by 2020. Additional incentives might at least double the production. For NFC granulates we foresee only niche markets with specific demand, reaching 10% of the WPC granulate market or 10,000 t in 2020.
Extruded WPC is now well established as a material for decking, fencing and facade elements. Its market share is still growing and should reach and surpass the level of tropical wood in most of the European countries by 2020. About 190,000 tonnes of WPC were produced in Europe for the construction sector in 2012 – and this will be surely increase to 400,000 t in 2020. Unlike other sectors, political incentives will have only a small impact, because WPC are positioned against other bio-based materials and not, as in automotive or consumer goods, pitched against petrochemical plastics. Nevertheless, the whole framework of bio-based economy including green material databases will also give impetus to WPC decking.