The two companies signed an agreement in early June 2011 to jointly research synthetic rubber using new rubber raw materials and its applications as they embark on the research. The partners aim to commercialise synthetic rubber for tires using bio-based isoprene.
This movement is also aimed at increasing rubber supply and the two main types of rubber are natural rubber extracted from rubber trees and synthetic rubber produced from crude oil. However, it is not easy to increase rubber supply from natural rubber and petroleum-based isoprene.
Ajinomoto has successfully manufactured bio-based isoprene at the laboratory scale using a fermentation process from biomass raw material and Bridgestone has also succeeded to produce synthetic rubber from Ajinomoto's bio-based isoprene.
Looking ahead, Ajinomoto and Bridgestone plan to decide on the potential for commercialisation in 2013.
Bridgestone is the world's largest supplier of tires, the main application for rubber. The company not only has production sites in countries worldwide, but also possesses formidable capabilities in polymer synthesis thanks to its cutting-edge technology in the polymerisation catalyst field.
Meanwhile, Ajinomoto has been producing amino acids using fermentation technology for more than 50 years since 1957.
The Ajinomoto Group contributes through its business activities to global sustainability, food resource development, and healthy living in order to address the issues facing mankind in the 21st century. Toward these ends, the group uses advanced biotechnology to develop and introduce fermentation processes that can be conducted using fewer resources.
The development of bio-based isoprene marks an important step in replacing petrochemical raw materials with sustainable biological raw materials.
Nhu Ngoc (vir.com.vn)