Mitsui Will Become Japan’s First Company To Use Bio-based Feedstock

May 24, 2021
Neste, Mitsui Chemicals and Toyota Tsusho collaborate to start Japan's first production of renewable plastics from 100% bio-based hydrocarbons.

Neste, Mitsui Chemicals, Inc. and Toyota Tsusho Corp. announce that they are joining forces to enable Japan’s “first industrial-scale production of renewable plastics and chemicals from 100% bio-based hydrocarbons.” Mitsui Chemicals will use Neste RE 100% bio-based hydrocarbons to replace a part of the fossil feedstock in the production of a variety of plastics and chemicals at its crackers within Osaka Works during 2021. In doing so, Mitsui Chemicals says it will become Japan’s first company to use bio-based feedstock in its crackers. The collaboration will reportedly enable brand owners and other potential clients in the Asian market, particularly in Japan, to start incorporating renewable plastics and chemicals into their offerings.

Neste will produce its Neste RE feedstock entirely from renewable raw materials, such as bio-based waste and residue oils, without any fossil oil, according to the company. By using Neste RE, Mitsui Chemicals can produce plastics and chemicals with significantly reduced greenhouse gas emissions over their life cycle – spanning from the raw materials stage all the way through to product disposal – when compared to products made using fossil feedstock, such as petroleum naphtha.

The introduction of Neste-produced bio-based hydrocarbons as feedstock at the crackers will allow Mitsui Chemicals to produce renewable ethylene, propylene, C4 fraction and benzene and process them into basic chemicals such as phenol or plastics such as polyethylene and polypropylene, without altering the high-quality of these derivatives. The quality will reportedly be on par with conventional products.

Mitsui Chemicals and Toyota Tsusho intend to acquire International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC), which is widely accepted in Europe as a system for the certification of products from bio-based feedstock, according to the companies. Mass balance based ISCC Plus certification aims at driving up adoption of renewable content even in supply chains that feature complex production processes, such as those common in the chemical industry.

“Switching fossil feedstock to bio-based feedstock helps combat global warming, and it is regarded as an important strategic focus in the push for reaching carbon neutrality by 2050,” says Hirahara Akio, managing executive officer for corporate sustainability at Mitsui Chemicals. “With this in mind, Mitsui Chemicals will not only go about developing materials from high-quality bio-based feedstock and processes but also work with stakeholders toward getting biomass widely used in society.”

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