Asahi Kasei, Mitsui Chemicals, and Mitsubishi Chemical explore carbon neutrality of ethylene production in Japan

Asahi Kasei, Mitsui Chemicals, and Mitsubishi Chemical explore carbon neutrality of ethylene production in Japan

Japanese chemical firm Asahi Kasei, Mitsui Chemicals, and Mitsubishi Chemical are tying up for a joint feasibility study on feedstock and fuel conversion etc. at the three companies’ ethylene production facilities in western Japan in order to advance carbon neutrality and decarbonisation.

They plan to accelerate carbon neutrality at Mitsubishi Chemical and Asahi Kasei’s 496,000 tonne/year Mizushima cracker in Okayama prefecture and Mitsui Chemicals’ 455,000 tonne/year Osaka cracker in Osaka prefecture. The partners aim to introduce biomass feedstocks such as biomass-based naphtha and bioethanol and low-carbon cracking fuels like ammonia, hydrogen and electricity. They said joining forces will enable them to accelerate reducing greenhouse gas emissions, although they have not yet decided any further details.

Ethylene production is the upstream starting point of the petrochemical industry. Basic chemicals derived from ethylene are made into materials that are used in the manufacture of various products such as daily necessities, automobiles, and semiconductors. As such, ethylene production serves as an important foundation that supports people’s lives. However, a large amount of petroleum-derived feedstock and fuel is consumed in the production process. The reduction of GHG emissions from ethylene production is thus a serious issue.

In order to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 in accordance with the target set forth by the Japanese government, Asahi Kasei, Mitsui Chemicals, and Mitsubishi Chemical have each adopted policies to become carbon-neutral by 2050 by reducing GHG emission targets to effectively zero, and each is advancing measures to reduce energy consumption and apply technological development for low-carbon feedstock and fuel.

However, if initiatives are taken by each company individually, the speed of implementation and efficiency of GHG reduction are limited. This makes it increasingly necessary for multiple petrochemical manufacturers located nearby to cooperate with one another through mutual provision of technology and joint implementation of measures that contribute to carbon neutrality.

Through coordination across different districts among the three companies having sites in western Japan, the joint feasibility study is expected to raise the speed and efficiency of the transition to carbon neutrality of the companies’ ethylene production facilities and each company’s petrochemical products.

Moving forward, the three companies say they will study concrete measures that contribute to the transition to carbon neutrality such as replacing petroleum-derived resources with biomass feedstock, conversion to low-carbon fuel, etc., while also studying optimal future production arrangements.