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Cellulose Powder–Filled PP Biocomposite Under Development

Image courtesy of Mitsui Chemicals biocomposite polymer
Nippon Paper and Mitsui Chemicals partner to produce biocomposite material for auto, home appliance, and other applications.

Japan’s Nippon Paper Industries and Mitsui Chemicals are set to partner in the development of a new biocomposite with a high cellulose powder content. The two companies intend to develop products and bring them to market at the earliest possible opportunity, with plans to expand into a range of fields, including consumer products, housewares, containers, building materials, household appliances, and automobile parts.

Aimed at bringing to market a new biocomposite that offers a high level of stability in terms of both quality and supply, the tie-up will see the partners tap into their material supply chains and leverage the advanced material manufacturing and development technologies they have cultivated over many years.

With cellulose powder as its principal ingredient, this new composite will boast the same processability as conventional plastic. Further, the composite’s use of woody biomass as its main constituent will help to cut greenhouse-gas emissions by minimizing the use of fossil-fuel-derived virgin material.

Japan is somewhat of a hotbed for development of biocomposites based on cellulose derivatives. Japanese auto parts maker Toyoda Gosei recently developed a cellulose nanofiber (CNF) reinforced polypropylene (PP) compound. Polyplastics, meanwhile, roped in regenerated cellulose in a long-fiber thermoplastic PP compound. Japanese pulp and paper companies have been working for some time on the development of cellulose fiber for composite applications.

Mitsui Chemicals aims to combine cellulose powder from Nippon Paper with the compounding technologies cultivated by the Mitsui Chemicals Group to develop a strong, readily workable biocomposite with a high cellulose powder content. Plans are to tap into the existing sales network for Mitsui Chemicals’ own compound resins and use this to offer samples to customers.

Mitsui Chemicals aims to be carbon-neutral by 2050.

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