Zeon Partners with Visolis to Advance Bio-Isoprene Monomer and SAF Production
Zeon Partners with Visolis to Advance Bio-Isoprene Monomer and SAF Production

Zeon Partners with Visolis to Advance Bio-Isoprene Monomer and SAF Production

  • 10-Apr-2024 5:59 PM
  • Journalist: Bob Duffler

Zeon Corporation, headquartered in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo and led by President and CEO Tetsuya Toyoshima, has entered into a memorandum of understanding with Visolis, Inc., based in California, U.S.A. and helmed by President and CEO Deepak Dugar, on March 30, 2024. The agreement aims to advance the commercialization of various products, including bio-isoprene monomers and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). Zeon had previously disclosed its investment in Visolis through its venture capital arm, Zeon Ventures Inc., based in California, U.S.A. and represented by Yoshihiro Kagawa, in February 2023. This latest collaboration signifies an acceleration in Zeon's efforts to realize a sustainable society.

Bio-isoprene monomers play a pivotal role as a fundamental ingredient in various products, encompassing bio-isoprene rubber, bio-styrene-isoprene-styrene block copolymer (bio-SIS), and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). These materials are anticipated to play a significant role in Zeon's transformation of its manufacturing processes, known as "monozukuri," to achieve carbon neutrality and embrace a circular economy as part of its STAGE 30 Medium-Term Business Plan. Utilizing biomass materials, bio-isoprene monomers and SAF will be manufactured through a combination of biological catalysis (fermentation) and chemical catalysis, leveraging Visolis' patented cutting-edge technology. Notably, Zeon recently achieved a world first by synthesizing bio-SIS using bio-isoprene monomers produced through Visolis' proprietary technology, while Visolis has concurrently scaled up its production capacity of bio-isoprene monomers by 50-fold.

As per the terms of the agreement, Zeon and Visolis will jointly explore the feasibility of commercializing bio-isoprene monomers and SAF. Additionally, Zeon will initiate the provision of evaluation samples to potential customers in markets with high demand for bio-based materials, such as footwear and tires.

Looking ahead, Zeon remains steadfast in its commitment to contributing to a sustainable Earth and ensuring the safety and comfort of people worldwide through its unique technologies, products, and services.

As a manufacturer in the chemicals sector, Zeon operates distinct businesses that leverage raw materials sourced from the C4 and C5 fractions within naphtha, bolstered by its proprietary technologies. Utilizing C5 fractions across a wide spectrum of products stands out as a significant strength for Zeon, contributing to its competitive advantage.

Established in 1950, Zeon Corporation received initial capital contributions from Furukawa Electric Co., Ltd., Yokohama Rubber Co., Ltd., and Nippon Light Metal Company, Ltd. Its inception involved the manufacturing of PVC, utilizing technologies obtained from the U.S.-based B.F. Goodrich Chemical Company. Over time, Zeon developed its own proprietary techniques for extracting butadiene, isoprene, and other raw materials essential for synthetic rubbers and plastics. Presently, Zeon continues to manage these materials while diversifying its petrochemical product offerings.

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