Asahi Kasei to produce acrylonitrile using biomass-derived raw material

Asahi Kasei announced that on October 21, 2021, Tongsuh Petrochemical Corp., Ltd. (TSPC), a wholly owned subsidiary in South Korea, acquired the widely recognized international certification ISCC PLUS for its acrylonitrile (AN) as a sustainable product, and production of AN using biomass propylene is scheduled to begin in February 2022.

AN is used as a raw material to make ABS resin, acrylamide, acrylic fiber, and various other chemical products. Recent demand growth has been particularly robust in the applications of carbon fiber as a material to reduce the weight of wind turbine blades, etc., and nitrile rubber for medical gloves, whose use is expanding due to heightened awareness for hygiene.

Propylene is one of the most important chemical intermediates in organic chemistry. It is generated during the thermal cracking of hydrocarbons and can be produced also by bioethanol from biomass fermentation processes. Biomass means plant or animal materials that can be used to produce bioenergy. These are usually wastes from agriculture, private households, industry or forestry. Food crops such as rapeseed, corn, wheat, sugar beet or sunflowers are also used as raw materials.

International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC) is an international certification system that offers solutions for the implementation and certification of waste and residue raw materials, nonbio renewables and recycled carbon materials and fuels. ISCC PLUS is a certification system that covers mainly bio-based carbon materials, which are produced outside the EU and supplied globally to manage and ensure sustainable raw materials in the supply chain.

In order to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, measures to reduce CO2 emissions throughout the product chain of fossil fuel-derivatives are gaining momentum, and AN customers are increasingly seeking to manufacture products using AN with low CO2 emissions in order to contribute to GHG reduction. Under these circumstances, Asahi Kasei and TSPC sought to reduce CO2 emissions across the AN supply chain, and in October 2021, TSPC became the first AN manufacturer in Asia to acquire ISCC PLUS certification.

The certification system enables TSPC to produce and sell AN using biomass raw material allocated by the mass-balance method. TSPC is scheduled to begin producing AN using biomass propylene in February 2022. In the case of a mixture of biomass raw materials, etc., and fossil fuel-derived raw materials in the production process, the portion of biomass product, etc., produced is assigned to certain products (biomass AN) based on ISCC PLUS System Documents and its recognized management methods.

In order to contribute to society’s carbon neutrality, the Asahi Kasei Group will continue efforts to further reduce CO2 emissions by improving the AN catalysts and processes based on original technologies as well as the procurement of biomass raw material, aiming to be a global sustainable partner for its customers.

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