- Bridgestone has launched a joint program to develop chemical recycling technologies that utilise used tyres to achieve high-yield production of isoprene, a raw material for synthetic rubber production.
- The R&D program was adopted by the Green Innovation Fund promoted by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) of Japan.
- Bridgestone and its partners are working to increase synthetic rubber recycling and achieve carbon neutrality, contributing to the realisation of a more sustainable society.
Bridgestone Corporation has announced the launch of a joint research and development programme with the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Tohoku University, ENEOS Corporation and JGC HOLDINGS CORPORATION. This programme is aimed at developing chemical recycling technologies that utilise used tyres to achieve high-yield production of isoprene,*1 a raw material for synthetic rubber. By combining the expertise and technologies of industry leading companies and academic institutions, Bridgestone is working to develop innovative recycling technologies that will contribute to the realization of a more sustainable society and to conduct demonstrations for the social implementation of these technologies by 2030.
Tyre demand is expected to grow in the future in conjunction with rising automobile and transportation demand.*2 Synthetic rubber is one of the primary materials used when producing tyres and is generally manufactured using petroleum today. Used tyres are also utilised as fuel mainly through thermal recovery technologies*3 in Japan. At the same time, it is projected that society will come to face issues related to resource depletion and climate change triggered by increased CO2 emissions in the future.
To ensure that it can continue to supply tyres in more sustainable manner, Bridgestone has teamed up with AIST, Tohoku University, ENEOS and JGC HOLDINGS to kick off a co-creative programme for developing chemical recycling technologies of used tyre that combine the expertise and technologies of companies and academic institutions. In this manner, Bridgestone and its partners are working to contribute to increased resource recycling and carbon neutrality across the value chains of the tyre and rubber industry and the petroleum and petrochemical industry.
The R&D programme will promote the social implementation of technologies for high-yield production of isoprene by decomposing used tyres with a specialized catalyst.*4 AIST, Tohoku University, and ENEOS will be responsible for the development of chemical recycling technologies of used tyres and the related evaluation technologies while JGC HOLDINGS will be tasked with designing pilot plants. As the project leader, Bridgestone will play a central role in the project, guiding demonstrations for social implementation by utilizing its rubber R&D resources and expertise in the tyre and rubber industry.
This programme on “recycling technologies to achieve high-yield production by decomposing at low temperatures and depolymerisation of used tyres (brought by Bridgestone)” is one of two research and development (R&D) projects under the initiative called “developing chemical product manufacturing technologies utilising used tyres” promoted by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) of Japan*5*6 and adopted as part of “the Green Innovation Fund” of NEDO.
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) of Japan decided to develop the Green Innovation Fund toward the goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, the sustainability goal of Japanese government. The plan aims to accelerate structural transformation in energy and industry sector and innovation through ambitious investment. The Green Innovation Fund continuously supports companies and other organisations which address challenges to achieve the goal as part of their business from research and development (R&D) to demonstrations to social implementation of the outcomes for the coming ten years.
Through this program, AIST, Tohoku University, ENEOS, JGC HOLDINGS, and Bridgestone seek to help increase synthetic rubber recycling and achieve carbon neutrality in the tyre and rubber and the petroleum and petrochemical industries and to contribute to the realisation of a more sustainable society.