Neste, Mitsui Chemicals, Inc. and Toyota Tsusho Corp. have joined forces to realise Japan’s first industrial-scale production of renewable polymers from 100% bio-based hydrocarbons. The collaboration will enable brand owners and other potential clients in the Asian market, particularly in Japan, to start incorporating renewable plastics and chemicals into their products and offerings.
The collaboration will see Neste produce its Neste RE feedstock entirely from renewable raw materials - bio-based waste and residue oils - without any fossil oil. The feedstock is a drop-in solution that can be used on its own or in a blend to create products of identical quality to those made out of conventional raw materials based on virgin fossil oil.
Mitsui Chemicals will this year replace a part of the fossil feedstock it uses in its crackers at Osaka Works with this 100% bio-based hydrocarbon product produced by Neste, becoming Japan’s first company to use bio-based feedstock in its crackers.
Using Neste’s bio-based hydrocarbons as feedstock at the crackers, Mitsui Chemicals will produce, among others, renewable ethylene, propylene, C4 fraction and benzene. These can be processed into basic chemicals such as phenol, as well as high-quality polyolefin materials such as polyethylene and polypropylene, with properties that are on a par with conventional products.
The plastics and chemicals produced by Mitsui Chemicals based on Neste RE will offer significantly reduced greenhouse gas emissions over their life cycle – calculated from the raw materials stage through to product disposal – when compared to products made using fossil feedstock, such as petroleum naphtha.
“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,” said 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.”
“We are so excited that our decade-long experience brings our plastics market one of the best circular economy solutions from upstream to downstream,” added Kazuyuki Urata, COO for Chemicals & Electronics Division of Toyota Tsusho.
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. 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.
“Bringing sustainable plastics and chemicals to the market can only be successful if all value chain parties closely collaborate,” said Mercedes Alonso, Executive Vice President, Renewable Polymers and Chemicals at Neste.
“We are therefore very excited about our partnership with Mitsui Chemicals and Toyota Tsusho (…). Through this collaboration, we can considerably reduce emissions related to the use of fossil feedstocks and help Japan to reach its national climate and polymers-related biocontent targets, fully in line with Neste’s purpose and drive towards a circular bioeconomy,”