The biomass naphtha prepared from vegetable oil waste and residual oil is supplied from Finland’s Neste. Mitsui Chemicals studies since many years a bio-based process for the production of isopropanol from biomass, using recombinant E. coli as a catalyst. Isopropanol is then further processed to bio-PP. The process is currently run at 1500 L scale at Mitsui Chemicals „Bio-Engine Bench“ in its Mobara plant in Chiba Prefecture. Since 2019, a cooperation has been initiated with the startup Green Earth Institute GEI (related to the Research Institute of Innovative Technologies for the Earth RITE in Kyoto) and with Kyowa Hakko, and the „Bio-Engine Bench“ is considered a „bio foundry“ in search for „smart cells“ as catalysts, supported by METI’s project house NEDO. Within this program, GEI will scale up the pilot to 3000L and develop commercial processes for the production of more than 16 products in 6 years, bringing them to commercialization. The scale of this project is 1.5 billion yen in 2021, and the total investment up to 2026 is expected to become 5.4 billion yen (42 million €).
Mitsui Chemicals has acquired an ISCC PLUS certification for sustainable products.
Nikkei Biotech news release, Dec. 16, 2021