Para-xylene to be produced from CO2

NEDO aims to develop a variety of technologies that would produce para-xylene from recycled CO2.

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Technology Development Para Xylene Production Co2
Photo by geralt on pixabay

To cope with global climate change, it is necessary to address the issue of CO2 emissions from factories, power plants, and various emission sources while pursuing all possible technological options including carbon recycling technologies.

“Roadmap for Carbon Recycling Technologies” formulated by METI in June 2019 sets forth guidelines for utilization of carbon recycling technologies for separating and collecting CO2 as resources and reusing it in the form of diverse carbon compounds for chemical materials or fuels. Against this backdrop, NEDO has launched a development project for the world’s most advanced technology for industrial para-xylene production from CO2 to substitute existing fossil fuel-derived chemicals, and the Group has been selected as contractors for this commissioned project. Para-xylene is a particularly important basic compound in the production of PTA which is a feedstock material for polyesters such as polyester fibers and plastic bottles. Due to its composition, it can be produced with a relatively small amount of hydrogen while fixing a large amount of CO2, compared to other compounds from carbon recycling. This is a theme with great potential from both economic and environmental perspectives.

The global demand for para-xylene is approximately 49 million tons per year. Assuming that the feedstock for para-xylene of the current demand level is entirely converted from fossil fuels to CO2, theoretically 160 million tons of CO2 could be fixed in the para-xylene per year.

A ‘Group’ comprising University of Toyama, Chiyoda Corporation, Nippon Steel Engineering Co., Ltd., Nippon Steel Corporation, HighChem Company Limited, and Mitsubishi Corporation announced that the Group has jointly applied for and been selected by NEDO for “Development of Technologies for Carbon Recycling and Next-Generation Thermal Power Generation; Development of Technologies for CO2 Reduction and Utilization; and Development of Technologies for CO2 Utilization for Chemicals.”

In this project, the Group will improve the innovative catalyst for the production of para-xylene from CO2, develop a way to mass-produce the catalyst, and develop the process while studying its feasibility including its overall economic efficiency and CO2 reduction effect to pave the way to the demonstration stage.

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