Zeon Corporation, the Japanese elastomer producer collaborated with the National Research & Development Agency RIKEN and Yokohama Rubber Co., Ltd and developed a new technology to synthesize isoprene from biomass using silicon metabolic technology. Isoprene is used as a raw material to produce synthetic rubber (Polyisoprene) for automobile tires. This new technology helps to reduce dependency on petroleum products and also to reduce CO2 emissions which is the major cause for global warming. The new technology designed by the company will not only reduce the use of fossil fuel but also provides the high quality rubber which can withstand in any climatic conditions. The research is carried out with the help of cell design and plant science technologies of RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science (CSRS).
The demand for synthetic rubber is increasing and approximately 70% of rubber used is synthetic rubber. The presence of various non-rubber components in natural rubber such as amino acids, proteins, carbohydrates and inorganic substances may modify its chemical reactivity and mechanical properties for which the demand is less compared to synthetic rubber. The conventional method of producing synthetic rubber from fossil fuel emits toxic gasses that contribute to global warming.
Innovating new technologies such as Biomass-Derived Polyisoprene Rubber helps to reduce the pollution from the usage of synthetic rubber. Similar partnership agreement between Axens, IFPEN and Michelin to develop biomass derived synthetic rubber is under progress. The new technology from biomass is a positive sign in the rubber industry to encourage the manufacturing companies to develop eco-friendly products which benefits the stakeholders as well as the environment.
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