Of course, this is a very interesting news for me and I'm hoping to get first dibs on further developments from this company. By the way, for more on bio-PX developments, you can read my story published on March 12 at ICIS Chemical Business.
Anyway, I have been noticing since last year how more and more Japanese chemical companies are more readily on-board when it comes to using plant-based chemicals.
Cases in point are the following recent announcements:
- Japan-based Toray and US bio-isobutanol producer Gevo signed an off-take deal for Toray to source renewable-based paraxylene (PX) that will be produced at Gevo's planned pilot facility. Where that pilot facility is going to be built remains a question. Gevo is currently working on bio-isobutanol-based PX in a contracted facility at Silsbee, Texas, US, owned by US specialty chemical firm South Hampton Resources. According to Toray, it will use the bio-PX produced by Gevo to carry out its own pilot-scale production of bio-based PET. Toray plans to offer samples of bio-PET fibers and films to customers in 2013 for market evaluation.
- Toray has also been working with Japanese specialty chemical company Ajinomoto on the development of nylon raw material 1,5 pentanediamine (1,5 PD) using plant-based amino acid lysine via Ajinomoto's fermentation technology
- Japan-based Sojitz has acquired sales rights to Brazil-based Braskem's green polyethylene (PE) bioplastic made from sugarcane. Sojitz' synthetic resin subsidiary Sojitz Planet Corporation will aim to sell 20,000 tons/year of green PE products in Japan and Asia-Pacific in three years.
- Also late last year, Sojitz started working with US bio-succinic acid producer Myriant to develop plastics made from succinic acid. It also has acquired exclusive sales rights for succinic acid-based resins in Japan, China, South Korea and Taiwan. Sojitz said it plans to set up a commercial biobased derivativese plant that will consume 150m pounds/year of Myriant's biobased succinic acid. The facility is expected to start in 2015.
- In related news, Myriant has partnered with Japan-based Showa Denko in January this year for the production of polybutylene succinate (PBS) resins using Myriant's bio-based succinic acid.