Expansions: Mitsubishi to up capacity for PVOH resin in Japan; Kuraray completes construction of new isoprenes plant in Thailand

Mitsubishi to up capacity for PVOH resin in Japan

Japan’s Mitsubishi Chemical Group (MCG) says it has decided to establish a new facility at the Okayama Plant to double the production capacity of its Gohsenx and Nichigo G-Polymer specialty brands of polyvinyl alcohol resin (PVOH resin). The facility is scheduled to start operation in October 2024. It did not state the capacity to be produced.

Gohsenx is used for surface processing of thermal recording paper, emulsifiers, processing materials for silicon wafers for semiconductors and other applications. Nichigo G-Polymer is a material that possesses the water-soluble and compostable characteristics of PVOH resin, while also providing excellent gas barrier properties and melt processability. Used in the gas barrier layer of food packaging materials, the product prolongs the flavour and quality of foods, contributing to a reduction in food waste. Due to this functionality, the product is increasingly being used mainly in Europe. In addition, combining the product with the MCG’s compostable resin BioPBS and tie resins enables the design of all-compostable barrier packaging materials.

Currently, these specialty brands of PVOH resin are produced at the Kumamoto Plant. For building a stable supply system to meet growing demand, and due to aging production facilities, the MCG Group aims to double production capacity from the current level by newly establishing a facility at the Okayama Plant.

The MCG Group will continue to promote business expansion of performance products in focus markets such as foods and sustainability through the development of specialty brands of PVOH resin.

Kuraray completes construction of new isoprenes plant in Thailand

Meanwhile, compatriot Japanese chemical firm Kuraray Co. (Tokyo) has announced that construction of a new plant in Map Ta Phut, Rayong Province, Thailand, for isoprenes has been completed and will soon start operations in stages. The construction was undertaken by Bangkok-based subsidiaries Kuraray GC Advanced Materials Co. and Kuraray Advanced Chemicals (Thailand) Co.

The new Thai plant will contribute to the continued growth of isoprene-related businesses by strengthening the global supply system and meeting rising global demand for the 3-Methyl-1.5-Pentanediol (MPD), Septpon hydrogenated styrenic block copolymers (HSBC), and Genestar heat-resistant polyamide-9T (PA9T), which were developed using proprietary Kuraray technology.

The new facilities have been designed to produce 13,000 tonnes/year of PA9T, 16,000 tonnes/year of HSBC and 5,000 tonnes/year of MPD. The company invested around US$310 million in the project.


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