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Mitsui Chemicals and Teijin partner to develop biomass projects

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Tokyo-based firms Mitsui Chemicals and Teijin jointly announced that they will become Japan’s first companies to develop and market biomass-derived bisphenol A (BPA) and polycarbonate (PC) resins, that will support efforts to achieve carbon neutrality by reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions throughout product lifecycles - according to Chemical Engineering.

The joint initiative follows Mitsui Chemicals’ receipt of ISCC PLUS certification from the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC) - as a result of which Mitsui Chemicals will supply biomass BPA produced with the mass-balance approach. In this process, , materials are verifiably tracked through complex value chains, as in the case of biomass-derived raw materials being mixed with petroleum-derived raw materials to create products.

Teijin also will begin developing and producing biomass PC resin using the same BPA.

Mitsui Chemicals will be the first Japanese company to produce commercial biomass-derived BPA offering the same physical characteristics as those of conventional petroleum-derived BPA.

Teijin will procure biomass-derived BPA from Mitsui Chemicals to produce biomass- derived PC resins possessing the same physical characteristics as the company’s existing petroleum-derived PC resins, which will allow these new biomass-derived versions to be used in commercial applications such as automotive headlamps and electronic components.

By expanding sales of products containing plastics produced through biomass conversion, the two companies aim to develop and produce more environmentally friendly products throughout their supply chains.

Mitsui Chemicals, for example, is considering expanding its procurement network for bio-based hydrocarbons in order to provide stable supplies of related products to the market.

The company, which is in the process of acquiring ISCC PLUS certification for biomass naphtha derivatives, has already received certification for phenol, acetone, BPA and alpha-methyl styrene.

The aim is to acquire ISCC PLUS certification for all of the company’s phenol-chain products and then begin sales within fiscal 2023 ending in March 2024.

Teijin also expects to acquire ISCC PLUS certification in the first half of fiscal 2023 and thereafter start commercial production of biomass-derived PC resins. Teijin plans to emphasise to customers that conventional petroleum-derived PC resins can be easily replaced with biomass-derived versions for more environmentally friendly products.

The demand to reduce GHG emissions throughout supply chains in order to support carbon neutrality is rapidly increasing, creating needs for more low-environmental impact products. PC resins recycled from used final-products are applicable in automotive and electronics uses, so the development of diverse low-environmental impact PC resins is highly anticipated.

Since December 2021, Mitsui Chemicals has been using naphtha crackers as core equipment in its petrochemical plants, allowing petroleum-derived naphtha to be replaced with waste vegetable oil and residual oil-derived bio-based hydrocarbons.

The company plans to continue introducing derivatives by using the ISCC PLUS-certified mass-balance approach to produce biomass-derived raw materials via chemical reaction. Teijin, meanwhile, will continue developing low-environmental impact recycled PC resins, in addition to conventional PC resins using petroleum-derived raw materials, aiming to introduce new environmentally friendly