The trio May 17 signed a long-term memorandum of understanding to develop and further grow sustainable polymers and chemicals in Asia, according to Sumitomo.
As part of the project, Idemitsu will produce biobased styrene monomer, based on the mass balance method. Kumho Petrochemical will produce bio-solution styrene butadiene rubber (SSBR), a key material for high-functional tires, using bio-styrene monomer.
Sumitomo, meanwhile, will be "coordinating the collaboration and developing bio material market," the statement added.
The companies plan to start the manufacturing of the biopolymers in 2024. The scale of that production was not detailed, but the companies did note that the biobased styrene monomer will be manufactured from bionaphtha, derived from bio-based raw material such as waste and residues.
The switch to bio-based styrene monomer is expected to reduce end-users' carbon and greenhouse gas emissions, Sumitomo said.