OSAKA, Japan — May 12, 2011 — Kaneka Corporation has set up a trial production system at the
Takasago Plant (Takasago, Hyogo Prefecture; Takasago Plant Manager: Akira Iwazawa) for a new plant
oil based polyester biopolymer product to be marketed as Kaneka Biopolymer AONILEX®*. The
production system is now operational, with full-scale production due to commence by the end of the
month. Annual production capacity will be approximately 1,000 tons. Kaneka will use the trial
production system to develop innovative production technology and processes for AONILEX products,
in combination with new product applications and experimental sales programs. The Company plans to
boost production capacity incrementally over several years in line with feedback from the market,
with a view to achieving annual production of 10,000 tons and turnover of 10 billion yen or more.
AONILEX is biodegradable yet strongly resistant to heat and hydrolysis and can act as a
barrier to water vapor. It is the first ever 100% plant-based biopolymer to offer both flexibility
and heat resistance. It exhibits a range of properties from hardness through to softness as well as
a number of key characteristics of polyethylene and polypropylene materials. Kaneka is refining
resin mixes and molding processes in a bid to further improve the strength and tear resistance of
packaging films, especially agricultural mulch films and composting bags. The Company intends to
aggressively pursue marketing opportunities in high-durability molded products such as bottles and
containers, auto interiors and electrical equipment.
Biopolymers are an environmental friendly material that effectively reduces emissions of the
greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. Demand for biopolymer products was approximately 90,000 tons in 2009
and is estimated to grow at around 20% per annum worldwide. The new 100% plant-based biopolymer in
particular represents a breakthrough product that is expected to generate strong demand. As such,
Kaneka has positioned plant biopolymers as a key strategic development priority for the future.
* Kaneka holds a matter patent for AONILEX. Its raw materials are biomasses such as plant
oils, which are renewable resources. Polymers are accumulated in the bodies of microorganisms
through strain development and cultivation technology established in joint research with Yoshiharu
Doi -Director, RIKEN Research Cluster for Innovation- and AONILEX is produced in a clean process
whereby the polymers are refined and extracted. There are also prospects for the establishment of
manufacturing technology utilizing biomasses not used for food as the primary ingredients. AONILEX
is stable under every day usage conditions. At the same time, it is biodegradable in either
anaerobic or aerobic conditions in the natural environment, ultimately being converted into carbon
dioxide and water. Because it is completely bio-based, it produces less carbon dioxide than
fossil-based polymers and can contribute to the prevention of global warming.
Posted June 15, 2011
Source: Kaneka Corp.