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Sumitomo Chemical and Muroran Institute of Technology accelerate joint research on chemical recycling

| By Mary Bailey

Muroran Institute of Technology and Sumitomo Chemical Co. (Tokyo, Japan; will accelerate joint research on a new chemical recycling technology, which chemically decomposes waste plastics and reuses them as raw materials for petrochemical products, including plastics. In another joint recycling project, Sumitomo Chemical is collaborating with Sekisui Chemical on a project that will process waste materials into polyolefins.

Professor Emeritus Yoshio Uemichi and Associate Professor Yasuharu Kanda of Muroran Institute of Technology developed a technology that uses highly selective zeolite catalysts to decompose waste plastics into specific monomers. This technology has recently gathered attention as a method to efficiently achieve chemical recycling.

In the joint research based on this technology, Muroran Institute of Technology will develop more sophisticated catalysts for the decomposition of plastics, and Sumitomo Chemical will be responsible for not only supporting the R&D of Muroran Institute of Technology but also for developing process technologies to maximize the chemical decomposition of waste plastics by making the best use of the core technologies it has cultivated to date, including catalyst design and chemical process design. This joint research aims to quickly establish chemical recycling technology that efficiently decomposes waste plastics into petrochemical raw materials.

In response to changing times and social demands, Muroran Institute of Technology has promoted research leading to innovation under the credo, “Making dreams come true with creative science and technology.” One such research effort, from the perspective of green chemistry, is the development of plastic recycling technology.

Sumitomo Chemical has identified environmental impact mitigation as one of the material issues to be addressed by its management. To promote chemical recycling, the company will set up a new unit for the development of technologies to reduce the impact on the environment while actively promoting open innovation. With these efforts, Sumitomo Chemical is accelerating the development of solutions, including technologies for carbon recycling and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.