Research and Development

Chemical Recycling

(1) Manufacturing Plastics from Municipal Waste that includes Plastic Waste [Initiative with Sekisui Chemical Co., Ltd.]

Sumitomo Chemical and Sekisui Chemical are working on a joint project to manufacture polyolefin by using municipal waste as a raw material. Sekisui Chemical gasifies, without sorting, municipal waste collected at a waste treatment center into carbon monoxide and hydrogen, and converts these gases into ethanol, using microbes instead of heat and pressure. Sumitomo Chemical will develop a technology for converting waste-derived ethanol to ethylene to polyolefin by building on its technologies and knowhow cultivated over many years in the field of petrochemicals. Pilot-scale production will begin in fiscal 2022, and a full-scale market launch is expected in fiscal 2025.

(2) Manufacturing Plastics from Plastic Waste [Joint Research with the Muroran Institute of Technology]

Sumitomo Chemical and the Muroran Institute of Technology are engaged in joint research to develop a chemical recycling technology to chemically decompose waste plastic and use it as raw material for petrochemical products. In this project, Muroran Institute of Technology will develop higher-performance catalysts for the decomposition of plastics. We will support the Institute’s research and development and also develop process technology that helps maximize the decomposition of plastics, by making the best use of the core technologies we have cultivated, including those for catalyst design and chemical process design. Through this joint effort, we aim to rapidly establish a chemical recycling technology that efficiently decomposes waste plastics into raw materials for petrochemicals.

(3) Synthesizing Methanol from Carbon Dioxide [Joint Research with the Shimane University]

Shimane University and Sumitomo Chemical Company accelerate joint research on a highly effective method of synthesizing methanol from carbon dioxide at a yield ideal for practical implementation. In this joint research, Shimane University will advance basic research into catalysts and reaction processes, while Sumitomo Chemical will work on industrial applications of the catalysts and processes developed in Shimane University’s basic research, to establish a highly effective methanol manufacturing process. Through this joint research, Shimane University and Sumitomo Chemical will contribute to the creation of a sustainable society by completing a highly efficient methanol manufacturing process and establishing the carbon cycle based on the resources of carbon dioxide and used plastics.