Collaboration is often cited as being key to establishing a more sustainable plastics economy. Now, four companies, intent on contributing towards a low-carbon emission society, are demonstrating how that can work.
Neste, Idemitsu Kosan, CHIMEI and Mitsubishi Corporation have come together with the aim of building a renewable plastics supply chain which will utilise Neste’s circular hydrocarbon product - in this case, produced from 100% bio-based raw materials such as waste and residues - that is marketed by the company under the name Neste RE for the production of bio-based styrene monomer. This styrene monomer will then serve as the feedstock to produce a range of mass balanced renewable plastics derivatives, including bio mass balanced acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, or ABS: a thermoplastic polymer made from acrylonitrile, butadiene and styrene monomer, used in sectors including the automobile, electronics and toy industries.
The partners in this extremely close-knit collaboration each play a specific role in the value chain.
Neste will supply its Neste Re to Idemitsu Kosan, the biggest SM manufacturer in Japan. Substituting Neste Re for conventional fossil-based feedstock use can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with the bio mass balanced styrene monomer produced by Idemitsu Kosan.
The bio-styrene monomer will then be supplied to Taiwan-based CHIMEI, the biggest ABS manufacturer in the world, for the production of bio-based ABS. Mitsubishi Corporation will coordinate the collaboration between the value chain partners to develop the renewable products’ market.
The production of bio-based styrene monomer and renewable plastics based on this monomer will be a first for both Japan and Taiwan. Production is scheduled to start in the first half of 2023.