Monday, August 6, 2012

No. 581: Successful development of a technology to produce butadiene from plant-derived ethanol (August 6, 2012)

Butadiene is a material indispensable to synthetic rubber, and it is currently produced from a byproduct of ethylene that is produced from naphtha. That is, naphtha is vital for the production of butadiene that is an ingredient of tire. As the production cost of shale gas decreases, shale gas will grow more popular as the raw material to produce ethylene. Production of ethylene using shale gas does not produce butadiene. More specifically, growing popularity of shale gas decreases the supply of butadiene and increases the cost of tire production.

Dow Chemical of the U.S. built an ethylene plant that relies on shale gas. For fear of possible short supply of butadiene, Bridgestone and Wataru Ueda of Hokkaido University jointly developed a technology to produce butadiene from plant-derived ethanol. Mitsubishi Chemical developed a method to produce butadiene from butene produced in the purification process of oil. As discussed in No. 526, Bridgestone is working with Ajinomoto to develop biomass-derived tires. The development race of technology involved in tire production is growing fiercer.

Plant-derived synthetic rubber that
Bridgestone made on trial

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