Photo Release -- Toray Succeeds in Production of Bio-Based PBT and Part
Progressing Towards Commercialization of Bio-Based PBT From BDO Made Using
Genomatica's Bio-Based Process Technology
SAN DIEGO, April 24, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Toray Industries, Inc.
(headquarters: Chuo-ku, Tokyo; President, CEO & COO: Akihiro Nikkaku;
hereinafter "Toray") today jointly announced with Genomatica, Inc.
(headquarters: San Diego, California, U.S.; CEO: Christophe Schilling), a
leading company in renewable chemicals process technology,that Toray has
successfully made a partially bio-based PBT (polybutylene terephthalate) using
1,4-butanediol (BDO) made with Genomatica's bio-based process technology. The
successful bench-level production gives Toray a significant boost towards
commercial-scale production of partially bio-based PBT. Toray's tests
confirmed that PBT made using this BDO has physical properties and formability
equivalent to PBT made from petroleum-derived BDO, and Toray then succeeded in
making prototypes of molded components.
sample molded parts
Toray is the first company to publicly
confirm successful PBT polymerization
of BDO made with Genomatica's process
technology. Shown here, sample molded
parts, produced in March 2013.
Toray was the first company, in
February 2011, to make PBT 'pellets'
using BDO made with Genomatica's
bio-based process technology.
Photos accompanying this release are available at
Toray's plan is to produce a bio-based PBT at commercial scale using BDO made
with Genomatica's process. Toray plans to share samples of bio-based PBT with
its customers during 2013 to help develop market demand. Based on results to
date, Toray expects to bring products to market as soon as supplies of this
BDO are readily available from one of the producers that Genomatica licenses
to use its BDO process.
Genomatica has developed a process to produce BDO from renewable feedstocks
rather than petroleum. This process includes an engineered microorganism,
fermentation techniques and downstream processing. Genomatica's process was
used for the successful commercial-scale production of 5 million pounds of BDO
in November 2012.
For its part, Toray, in 1976, became the world's first company to succeed in
the industrial production of PBT employing direct polymerization using
terephthalic acid and BDO as ingredients, and has technology and knowledge
related to PBT polymerization accumulated over many years. This collective
expertise helped enable Toray become the first company to publicly confirm
successful downstream application of BDO made using Genomatica's process.
Toray has been working closely with Genomatica for over two years, and in
February 2011 produced the first PBT 'pellets' made with BDO samples from
PBT is an engineering plastic produced by polymerizing terephthalic acid and
BDO. It is used in wide-ranging applications from automobile parts such as
switches and ignition coils to electrical parts such as connectors and plugs,
as the material has mechanical properties such as tensile strength and tensile
elasticity and well-balanced physical properties such as heat resistance. PBT
is the second largest use for BDO, accounting for about 29 percent of all BDO
worldwide, or about 700,000 tons per year as PBT compound. Currently, regular
PBT resin is produced using petroleum-based ingredients. Faced with issues in
long-term oil supply, rising oil prices and increasing CO2 emissions,
producing engineering plastic from renewable bio-based ingredients is a
pressing issue. Toray is working on addressing this issue by combining its
core technologies such as polymer chemistry, synthetic organic chemistry and
Toray's management policy states that all business strategies must place
priority on the global environment in an effort to help realize a sustainable
low-carbon society. Under this policy, Toray is expanding its biomass-derived
materials business centered on research and development of biomass-derived
polymers. It succeeded in polymerization of fully renewable bio-based PET and
production fibers and films from the PET and has started working on
development of bio-based nylon. Expanding the bio-based polymer business is
also an important initiative central to the Green Innovation Business
Expansion (GR) Project, which is part of Toray's medium-term management
program "Project AP-G 2013."
Under its corporate slogan of "Innovation by Chemistry," Toray will continue
to focus on research and development of new advanced materials by applying the
Power of Chemistry for development of a sustainable recycling-oriented
Toray is an integrated chemicals corporate group operating in 23 countries and
regions. It fuses nanotechnology into its operations using organic synthetic
chemistry, polymer chemistry and biochemistry as its core technologies. In
addition to the foundation businesses of fibers & textiles and plastics &
chemicals, Toray likewise promotes the global development of IT-related
products, carbon fiber composite materials, pharmaceuticals and medical
products, environment & engineering including water treatment and progress in
other pivotal business fields. For more information visit:
Genomatica is a widely-acknowledged technology leader for the chemical
industry. It delivers new manufacturing processes that enable its partners to
produce high-volume intermediate and basic chemicals from renewable
feedstocks. Genomatica's processes are designed to achieve better economics
and greater sustainability than petroleum-based manufacturing processes.
Genomatica's first process, for BDO, was used for commercial-scale production
of 5 million pounds of BDO in November 2012 and Genomatica is establishing
partnerships worldwide for production using its process. Additionally,
Genomatica is developing a pipeline of manufacturing processes for other major
chemicals; the next is for butadiene, with Versalis as partner. Genomatica's
accomplishments have been recognized with numerous awards, including the Wall
Street Journal Technology Innovation award, ICIS Top 40 'Ones to Watch', the
EPA Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award, voted #1 Hottest two years
in a row by Biofuels Digest, and being named a Best Place to Work by The
The photos are also available via AP PhotoExpress.
CONTACT: For Toray:
Corporate Communications Department, Toray Industries, Inc.
Tel: +81-3-3245-5179 (Tokyo)
Tel: +81-6-7688-3085 (Osaka)
Tel: +1.415.984.1970 x0102
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