The Chemical Daily recently conducted a round of interviews with the heads of R&D divisions of major Japanese chemical companies. For this installment, we talked with Keiichiro Nishizawa, director, corporate officer and executive vice president at Tosoh Corp. (TYO:4042) as well as president of the company’s Engineering Group and senior general manager of its Research and Development Planning division.
Nishizawa started off by saying that Tosoh is striving to clarify which Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) each of its development themes is working toward, as well as just how the themes are able to help fulfill these goals.
Tosoh is placing particular emphasis here, Nishizawa said, on the theme of reducing CO2 emissions. He explained that as part of this, the company is targeting both CO2 capture technology and the effective use of captured CO2 as a raw material for chemical production.
More broadly, Nishizawa noted that this comes as part of the environment and energy field, which represents one of Tosoh’s three main focuses for R&D initiatives. The company’s efforts here are also seeing it put resources into energy conversion materials and halogen chemistry, Nishizawa said. He noted here that Tosoh is using its Organic Materials Research Laboratory to work out ideas for bolstering applications of the four main halogens – these being bromine, chlorine, fluorine and iodine.
Tosoh’s second area of focus for R&D is life sciences, where Nishizawa said that the company is looking to specialize in materials aimed at separation, purification, analysis and diagnosis for the bio sector. The plan here is to target not only antibodies but also cells and proteins, Nishizawa said. Further, he added, there must be something that the company can do to exhibit its strengths in the area of detection technologies for presymptomatic illnesses.
Then in its third focus area of electronic materials, Tosoh is moving forward with materials research for semiconductor materials and printable electronics, Nishizawa said. Apart from OLED materials, he noted, the company’s operations here include the likes of barrier materials, protective materials and anti-reflective films, with efforts ongoing to develop specific applications for these.
Nishizawa said that to develop new materials without delay, Tosoh is looking to get into the full-fledged utilization of materials informatics (MI). The company is also placing an emphasis on open innovation, he said.
Over in the U.S., Nishizawa noted, these goals have seen Tosoh locate a research division in Silicon Valley and invest in two venture capital firms, allowing the company to take in information on more than 2,000 technologies per year. He added that Tosoh is currently considering joint research projects here for around 20 technologies.