Commodity chemical companies are under significant market pressure. Big oil is starting to move downstream, while the traditional move to specialty chemicals has become less attractive. Meanwhile, commodity chemical companies are left to trade businesses among themselves in an attempt to optimize their portfolios. Synthetic biology is driving strong growth for bio-based chemicals, especially in personal care and food. However, two previously attractive technologies, bio-based materials and advanced structural materials for automotive, are growing less than expected. Bio-based materials are being adopted based primarily on performance and cost, not sustainability, as initially thought. The rapid decrease in lithium-ion battery pack prices for electric vehicles reduces the economic driver for carbon fiber composites, and also puts aluminum lightweighting at risk.
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