SKOKIE, Ill.—In what is being touted as a groundbreaking partnership that ultimately could lead to an alternative source of natural rubber, Sumitomo Riko Co. Ltd. and LanzaTech NZ Inc. will team up to produce isoprene, the main bio-based material in natural rubber.
While Japan-based Sumitomo Riko will supply the rubber, resin and urethane waste for the production of isoprene, an essential chemical intermediate that typically is produced by plants, LanzaTech will supply the technological means by which to convert the waste materials (chiefly carbon) into isoprene.
"This exciting partnership with Sumitomo represents an opportunity to make a significant positive impact on the production of rubber," said Jennifer Holmgren, CEO of LanzaTech. "Thanks to increasing demand across multiple sectors, including medical and automotive, the global isoprene market is projected to be worth around $4 billion by 2025. We need new sustainable pathways for the production of rubber to avoid any impact on land and biodiversity."