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Collaboration Among Japanese Resin Producers to Promote Biomass-Based Polycarbonate
Collaboration Among Japanese Resin Producers to Promote Biomass-Based Polycarbonate

Collaboration Among Japanese Resin Producers to Promote Biomass-Based Polycarbonate

  • 02-Feb-2024 12:18 PM
  • Journalist: Bob Duffler

Mitsui Chemicals Inc. and Teijin Ltd. are set to make history as the first Japanese companies to pioneer the development and commercialization of biomass-derived bisphenol A (BPA) and polycarbonate (PC) resins. This groundbreaking collaboration aims to contribute to the imperative goal of achieving carbon neutrality by mitigating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions throughout the entire life cycle of products.

The joint venture takes root in Mitsui Chemicals' recent attainment of ISCC PLUS certification from the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC). Riding on this certification, Mitsui Chemicals is poised to supply biomass BPA using the mass-balance approach. Teijin, in turn, will capitalize on this development by commencing the development and production of biomass PC resin utilizing the same BPA.

Having secured ISCC PLUS certification for BPA raw materials associated with PC resins in May 2022, Mitsui Chemicals is on the cusp of becoming the inaugural Japanese company to commercially produce biomass-derived BPA, offering identical physical characteristics as its conventional petroleum-derived counterpart.

In this innovative partnership, Teijin will procure biomass-derived BPA from Mitsui Chemicals to fabricate biomass-derived PC resins mirroring the physical attributes of the company's existing petroleum-derived PC resins. These novel biomass-derived iterations are earmarked for application in commercial sectors such as automotive headlamps and electronic components.

The strategic intent behind expanding the sale of products featuring plastics derived from biomass conversion is to facilitate the development and production of more ecologically sustainable products across the entire supply chain. Mitsui Chemicals, for instance, contemplates broadening its procurement network for bio-based hydrocarbons to ensure a steady supply of related products to the market. The company is in the process of securing ISCC PLUS certification for biomass naphtha derivatives and has already garnered certification for phenol, acetone, BPA, and alpha-methyl styrene. The overarching goal is to attain ISCC PLUS certification for all phenol-chain products, paving the way for sales commencement by March 2024.

Teijin, in parallel, anticipates securing ISCC PLUS certification in the first half of fiscal 2023, marking the initiation of commercial production of biomass-derived PC resins. The company is poised to emphasize to its customers the seamless substitution of conventional petroleum-derived PC resins with their environmentally friendly counterparts.

The escalating demand for GHG emissions reduction across supply chains in support of carbon neutrality underscores the pressing need for low-environmental-impact products. The potential applications of PC resins recycled from used final products, particularly in automotive and electronics sectors, heighten the anticipation for diverse low-environmental-impact PC resins.

Since December 2021, Mitsui Chemicals has been at the forefront of environmental consciousness, integrating naphtha crackers as core equipment in its petrochemical plants. This strategic move facilitates the replacement of petroleum-derived naphtha with bio-based hydrocarbons derived from waste vegetable oil and residual oil. The company envisions a continued introduction of derivatives using the ISCC PLUS-certified mass-balance approach to produce biomass-derived raw materials through chemical reactions.

Simultaneously, Teijin remains committed to the development of low-environmental-impact recycled PC resins and conventional PC resins employing petroleum-derived raw materials. This multifaceted approach aligns with the evolving landscape of sustainable practices and anticipates a future where environmentally conscious choices are seamlessly integrated into the production and application of PC resins.

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