So the green blogger received a call yesterday from a Japanese chemical firm inquiring about bio-based paraxylene (PX). The caller said their Chinese clients have become more interested in renewable-based polyethylene terephthalate (PET).
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.
I’ve even wrote an article about this topic on ICB in October 2011. In this article, I’ve mentioned renewable chemical activities from Mitsubishi Chemical Company (MCC), Mitsui, Kuraray, Toyota Tsusho, Teijin and Toray.