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Japan's New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization Commissions IHI to Recycle CO₂ and Develop Olefin Manufacturing Technology -Company to recycle carbon as raw material for plastics and resins-

-November 11, 2021-

Press Release

IHI Corporation announced today that the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization has commissioned it to undertake a research project that it will complete in February 2026. The two R&D themes are to develop catalysts and reactors to synthesize lower olefins (see glossary note 1) and to test exhaust gases at existing crackers and explore integration with existing facilities. 

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry collaborated with related ministries and agencies in formulating the Green Growth Strategy through Achieving Carbon Neutrality in 2050. The strategy calls for key carbon recycling technologies that separate, capture, and harness atmospheric CO₂ as a resource. 

Conventional lower olefin production entails cracking naphtha (glossary note 2) derived from crude oil. IHI aims to create a technology using a reactor and catalyst to synthesize CO₂ and hydrogen recovered from exhaust gases or the atmosphere. This carbon-recycling approach would tap existing CO₂ emissions and help lower CO₂ from manufacturing plastics. IHI developed the catalyst through joint research with the Institute of Chemical Engineering and Sciences (glossary note 3) of Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research. Laboratory tests confirmed that the catalyst can produce olefins efficiently.

For the research project, IHI will develop more advanced catalysts based on those developed to date. It will also use petrochemical reactor design technology to develop reactors that can produce olefins efficiently and stably by controlling heat from reactions. It also looks to install a CO₂ recovery system and lower olefin production system at a petrochemicals plant. From fiscal 2024, the company will conduct production tests with CO₂ recovered from exhaust gases and by-product hydrogen at the plant. IHI will undertake comparisons and compatibility evaluations between lower olefins from testing and from existing facilities and assess conditions for integration with existing plants.

IHI will contribute to carbon neutrality in the chemical industry through this project by drawing on its experience in developing methanation catalysts and reactors, CO₂ capture equipment, and plant process design technology.

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Project’s two R&D themes and value chain leveraging existing facilities


Glossary:

  1. Lower olefins include ethylene, propylene, butene, and other products that are raw materials for many key basic chemicals and plastics and resins.
  2. Naphtha has a low boiling point and results from distilling crude oil, and is a raw material for solvents and petrochemicals.
  3. The wide-ranging R&D work of the Institute of Chemical and Engineering Sciences includes catalysts, biotechnology, and organic and polymeric materials.


IHI carbon recycling technology reference: 

  1. IHI ENGINEERING REVIEW Vol.54 No.1 2021: Converting Greenhouse Gas CO₂ into High Value-Added Materials https://www.ihi.co.jp/ihi/technology/review_library/review_en/2020/_cms_conf01/__icsFiles/afieldfile/2021/03/30/Vol54No1_JJ.pdf
  2. IHI ENGINEERING REVIEW Vol.54 No.2 2021: Robust Catalyst for CO₂ Conversion to Synthetic Fuels and Chemicals https://www.ihi.co.jp/en/technology/review_library/review_en/2021/_cms_conf01/__icsFiles/afieldfile/2021/10/27/Vol54No1_FF_211027.pdf
  3. Press Release announced on August 31, 2021: IHI Delivers its First Methanation Unit to Asahi Group Facility to Test Methane Production with Recovered CO₂ and Hydrogen for Carbon Recycling https://www.ihi.co.jp/en/all_news/2021/resources_energy_environment/1197524_3360.html
  4. Carbon Solutions: https://www.ihi.co.jp/en/products/resources_energy_environment/boiler/index.html

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