Sumitomo Chemical Co. Ltd. (TYO:4005) is adopting Atol, a technology from French firm Axens SA that is used to convert ethanol to ethylene through a dehydration reaction.
This comes as part of a broader project that Sumitomo Chemical is pursuing for polyolefin production. Sekisui Chemical Co. Ltd. (TYO:4204) will convert burnable waste into ethanol, with Sumitomo Chemical then taking the ethanol and running it through Atol’s reaction to create ethylene for polyolefins. The project is intended to result in commercial operations in 2025.
Atol was jointly developed in 2014 by Axens, Total SE and IFP Energies nouvelles (IFPEN). Total’s role in this collaboration has been to develop catalysts, while IFPEN enhances their functionality and Axens completes them for commercial-scale use.
Sekisui Chemical, meanwhile, developed the world’s first technology for using microorganisms to produce ethanol. Bypassing the need for waste separation, the company’s technology gasifies mixed burnable trash containing waste plastic before refining the gas into feed for microorganisms supplied by a U.S. venture, with the microorganisms then producing the ethanol.
Validation testing for Sekisui Chemical’s technology here has already been completed at a pilot facility, and a final demonstration facility now under construction will operate at 10 percent of full commercial capacity.