Japan's Asahi Kasei Chemical develops new BD production process

21 October 2011 11:58  [Source: ICIS news]

TOKYO (ICIS)--Japanese chemical producer Asahi Kasei Chemicals has developed a new butadiene production technology and is considering building a 50,000 tonne/year plant at Mizushima around 2014, a company source said on Friday.

The new technology, called BB-FLEX, produces butadiene from butene, while with the company’s existing technology butadiene is produced from the C4 fraction which comes from the naphtha cracking process, the source said.

“The butadiene price was rising sharply until recently. We have developed BB-FLEX to obtain [butadiene] feedstock for synthetic rubber at a low cost because it yields more butadiene [than the existing technology],” the source said in Japanese over the telephone.

“We want to strengthen our synthetic rubber business, and we are planning capacity increases [of synthetic rubber plants]. So it is important to procure butadiene at a low cost,” the source added.

While the plan had not been finalised, it would be “most effective” to build the butadiene plant, using BB-FLEX, in Mizushima, Okayama prefecture, because Asahi Kasei Chemicals runs a naphtha cracker at the same location, the source said.

“If we can get approval, we may also build a [butadiene] plant overseas,” the source said.

Asahi Kasei Chemicals plans to use butadiene from the new plant to produce synthetic rubber, the source said.

Asahi Kasei has a combined capacity of 105,000 tonnes/year of solution styrene butadiene rubber (S-SBR) and low-cis polybutadiene rubber (BR) at its Kawasaki factory in Kanagawa prefecture.

The company also operates a S-SBR/low-cis BR swing plant at Oita, with a combined capacity of 35,000 tonnes/year.

For more on Asahi Kasei visit ICIS company intelligence

By: Tomomi Yokomura
+65 6780 4359

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