Bridgestone Corp. and Ajinomoto Co., Inc. Jointly Developing Synthetic Rubber from Biomass

May, 30 2012

Bridgestone Corp and Ajinomoto Co Inc

The Goal is to Develop Tires with 100 % Sustainable Materials

Bridgestone Corporation today announced that it has successfully polymerized(1) high-cis polyisoprene (2) synthetic rubber from isoprene(3) provided by Ajinomoto Co, Inc., a partner in synthetic rubber development for tires. Isoprene is produced with biomass.

Demand for tires is expected to increase in tandem with rising car ownership worldwide, and the Bridgestone Group is committed to promoting the development of technologies and business models that contribute to greater use of recyclable and renewable resources in order to build a sustainable society.

The Bridgestone Group is promoting a variety of initiatives for creating “100% sustainable materials(4)” by 2050, but IR extracted from crude oil feedstock is a market with limited potential for supply. The Group has been searching for ways to procure raw materials from renewable resources to ensure the supply of sustainable resources. Polymerized IR has been successfully polymerized at this time using isoprene produced with biomass by Ajinomoto, which has the world's most advanced fermentation technologies. This development could be a major catalyst for achieving the Group’s goal of a sustainable society. In addition, IR bonded with isoprene from biomass feedback using the Group’s proprietary polymerization catalyst(5) technologies can verify the practical feasibility of IR.

Since IR can replace natural rubber in some cases, the Group expects it to be one of the means of diversifying raw material sources for tires. Looking ahead, the Bridgestone Group aims to promote IR bioengineering technologies while confirming its rubber properties and further enhancing polymerization catalyst technologies for developing IR with more advanced performance features.

Through efforts such as the research into biomaterials, for both natural and synthetic rubber, the Bridgestone Group is working to develop tires using “100% sustainable materials” (renewable and recyclable resources). The Group is involved in other efforts to develop technologies and processes that reduce, reuse and recycle resources as well as projects to develop concept tires made from “100% sustainable materials”.

(1) The bonding of two or more monomers to form a compound with large molecular weight, or the reaction. For example, polyisoprene is created through an isoprene and polymer reaction.
(2) Synthetic rubber (IR) created through a chemical reaction with isoprene
(3) A synthetic rubber (IR) raw material; a highly volatile and colorless liquid at room temperature.
(4) Materials that do not use resources such as fossil fuels that cannot be consumed indefinitely and are expected to be depleted.
(5) Chemicals effective in hastening polyisoprene reactions

Overview of Polymerized synthetic rubber that is successfully polymerized
・Uses biomass as raw material
・Fermentation technology from Ajinomoto Co, Inc. applied for creating isoprene
・Bridgestone polymerization catalyst technology used for producing polymerized synthetic rubber