In October, we signed a joint development agreement with LanzaTech, a U.S. biotechnology company.
Although it will take some time for this technology to come to fruition and contribute to society, we have decided to proceed with it, considering the future of the Sumitomo Riko Group.
The purpose of this joint development is to accelerate our efforts to realize a sustainable society.
This research is aimed at “Recycling rubber and other wastes generated by our group by using microorganisms to convert them into useful chemical substances, avoiding waste of resources”.
This is a circular economy, which aims to maximize resource and product value, minimize resource consumption, and deter waste generation by minimizing the input and consumption of new resources as much as possible, in addition to the conventional "3Rs" (reduce, reuse, recycle).
Circular Economy Process
Our group manufactures a variety of products using rubber, resin, and urethane as raw materials in the course of its business activities.
The manufacturing process and the generation of waste parts over the life of a vehicle result in the generation of waste.
Utilizing LanzaTech's "microbial biosynthesis technology," we aim to produce a new chemical substance, isoprene (rubber raw material), after gasification and gas purification of rubber, resin, and urethane waste, through microbial cultivation (see figure above).
Eventually, in cooperation with raw material manufacturers, we are considering the application of recycling technology to reuse isoprene and ethanol as rubber and resin for the future.
Ideally, we would like to realize a world where our products, such as anti-vibration rubber and hoses, can be reborn as new anti-vibration rubber and hoses by applying this technology after they reach the end of their useful life.
In addition, this process will greatly reduce the amount of waste and incineration processes, which is expected to contribute to the realization of carbon neutrality.
Commitment to a Sustainable Society
In order to realize a sustainable society and to remain the company of choice in that society, the Sumitomo Riko Group will continue to focus on the development of new technologies.
On the other hand, the conventional 3Rs are also very important activities.
I believe that each of us needs to do what we can to contribute to environmental conservation, not only in our daily corporate activities within the company, but also in our private time.
Press Release: Sumitomo Riko and LanzaTech Sign Joint Development Agreement on Reuse of Rubber, Resin and Urethane Waste - Contributing to Realization of Circular Economy