Idemitsu Kosan, Kumho Petrochemical and Sumitomo sign MOU for biomaterial supply chain

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Japan’s largest manufacturer of styrene monomer (SM), Idemitsu Kosan, has signed a memorandum of understanding with South Korea’s largest manufacturer of synthetic rubber, Kumho Petrochemical, and Sumitomo Corporation for the establishment of a long-term collaboration project to develop and grow the sustainable polymers and chemicals market in Asia.

Idemitsu will produce bio-SM using the mass-balance method, and Kumho will produce bio-SSBR (solution styrene-butadiene rubber), one of the main products for high-performance tires using that bio-SM.

Sumitomo will coordinate the collaborative project and work to further develop the biomaterial market.

Bio-SM is made from bio-naphtha, a biologically based raw material. Conventionally, naphtha is extracted from crude oil and has been widely used to produce basic chemical elements such as ethylene and butadiene. By increasing the use of bio-SM, the partners expect to reduce carbon emissions and greenhouse gas generation, leading to an improvement in carbon footprint.

The companies plan to commence production of biopolymers by 2024.

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About Author


Matt joined UKi Media & Events in 2014 after seven years of living and working in Dubai. He has been a journalist for over 15 years and has worked for a wide range of publications, including Rolling Stone, Time Out, iQ, Wired, Kipp Report and Loaded. After starting out on the automotive team as deputy editor of Engine Technology International, Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International and Transmissions Technology International, he has been an editor since 2015, and began editing Tire Technology International in 2018. In 2020, he was appointed editor-in-chief of Tire, Electric & Hybrid Marine Technology International and Wheel Technology International. He is also the chairman of the Tire Technology International Awards for Innovation & Excellence

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