The speciality chemicals company Kuraray announced that it is aligning its appearance at K2022 (19-26 October 2022, Düsseldorf, Hall 7a/D06) entirely with the theme of cocreating a sustainable future together with a stronger focus on innovation to create true opportunities.

To promote innovation globally and across the entire product portfolio, the company has created the „Innovation Networking Center“ (INC). The INC, which Kuraray is presenting to an international audience for the first time at K 2022, has the purpose to promote networking and exchange – across the company’s diverse products and business units as well as improving connectivity with its numerous customers and partners around the world.

Another highlight at the trade show stand will be the introduction of “Bio-Circular EVOH” adding one more value proposition to the recyclable Eval EVOH barrier resins in packaging applications. In Europe, the Eval Europe N.V. plant has received ISCC-Plus certification, which enables the market introduction of EVOH from renewable resources. Other trade show highlights are Genestar for new, recyclable composite materials in hydrogen tanks and Septon Bio-series, a bio-based thermoplastic elastomer which is based on beta-farnesene and derived from sugar cane, while both liquid farnesene rubber and silane-modified GS-L-BR improve tyre performance and durability.

First ISCC+ Certification for Bio-Circular Eval

International Sustainability & Carbon Certification, ISCC, is a leading global certification system that covers all sustainable raw materials, including agricultural and forestry biomass, biogenic waste, recycled materials, and renewable energy. ISCC-Plus Renewable Resource certification supports the use of bio and circular feedstocks, also accepting the mass balance approach. Its purpose is to document the proportion of biobased and circular feedstocks in the production process. Kuraray is now the first ethylene-vinyl alcohol (EVOH) copolymer producer to receive a corresponding ISCC-Plus certificate for the bio-circular ethylene monomer in its supply chain. The certificate covers, in principle, all EVOH variants that Kuraray produces in Antwerp. The company is a global leader in the production and development of EVOH barrier resins and films. Greater sustainability and recyclability are explicit requirements of customers in the food, cosmetic or health care industry, said Kuraray. Eval acts as a gas barrier for film packaging of perishable foodstuffs, as aroma preservation or as an efficient functional barrier for organic solvents or potential contaminants, such as those that might be present in food cartons made of recycled corrugated board or postconsumer recycled plastics.

Hydrogen tanks made from carbon fibre reinforced composites

Kuraray will also showcase solutions for the automotive and fuel cell electric vehicle industries at K 2022. Genestar is a robust, heat-resistant PA9T polyphthalamide that has proven its value in under-the-hood and electrical and electronic applications, such as thermostat housings or high-voltage connectors. But Genestar also shows its advantages both in glass and carbon fibre reinforced composites. Kuraray’s PA9T exhibits superior mechanical properties at high temperatures, while its very low water absorption – the lowest of all high-temperature polyamides – ensures high dimensional stability. This makes lightweight Genestar glass fibre reinforced composites suitable for automotive structural components, such as bumper beams or battery housings. Carbon fibres composites enable very interesting applications for Genestar: Kuraray and development partners currently develop prototypes of high-pressure hydrogen tanks for fuel cell vehicles. Until now, the outer shell of a hydrogen tank mostly consisted of thermosetting resins. Their main disadvantage is that they are not recyclable in any way; they do not melt or dissolve in acid. In contrast, the recycling of thermoplastic PA9T is possible. Excellent mechanical properties, as well as the very good gas barrier properties, are advantages of Genestar when it comes to manufacturing lightweight, reliable, and recyclable hydrogen tanks.

Improving the carbon footprint bio-based TPE derived from sugarcane

Sustainability and alternatives to crude oil-based products are becoming increasingly important across industries. Plastics play an important role here. At K 2022, Kuraray offers an answer to more sustainable mobility with several solutions that simultaneously improve sustainability and product performance. To achieve that, Kuraray has developed a bio-based thermoplastic elastomer: Septon Bio-series. This family of hydrogenated styrene farnesene block copolymers (HSFC) is synthesised from beta-farnesene, a monomer derived from sugarcane. Compared to conventional styrenic block copolymers, Septon Bio-series not only reduces greenhouse gas emissions by replacing butadiene and isoprene, but also improves product properties such as oil retention, weatherability and compression set. A significant advantage and decisive added value of Septon Bio-series compared to conventional materials available on the market are the significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions. These are up to 33 % lower than standard SEBS and SEEPS. The grades of Septon Bio-series vary by molecular weight and bio-content. Septon Bio-series is available with a bio-content of up to 80 %. Furthermore, they are recyclable. In order to meet manufacturers‘ medium- and long-term sustainability goals, Septon Bio-series is used in various applications not only to increase the bio-content but also to reduce weight. In order to meet manufacturers medium- and long-term sustainability goals, Septon Bio-series is used in various application to not only increase the bio-content but also to reduce weight.

Significant carbon footprint improvement in rubber compounds

Liquid farnesene rubber is a bio-based liquid rubber, which is based on beta-farnesene, a monomer derived from sugarcane. With liquid farnesene rubber, Kuraray is expanding its portfolio of liquid rubbers with a product based on natural and renewable raw materials. Applied as an additive in rubber compounds, liquid farnesene rubber gives them high plasticity, excellent flexibility at low temperatures and improves ice grip. Liquid farnesene rubber is mainly used in winter tyres, where it increases ice grip while preventing the rubber compounds from hardening over time and significantly improves the carbon footprint. With liquid farnesene rubber, the company expands its Kuraray Liquid Rubber series by a unique, bio-based solution.

Functionalised liquid rubber grades

Electric vehicles (EVs) place special demands on the performance and properties of tyres. Kuraray’s silane-modified GS-LBR is one of the company’s latest developments in functionalised liquid rubbers to meet emerging tyre performance needs. Silane-modified groups enhance the rubber interaction with silica (which is a popular filler for tyres) and improves its dispersion. Applied in tyres, GS-L-BR improves the grip performance, rolling, and abrasion resistance, which has an overall positive impact on the lifetime of tyres. Improved silica dispersion is a crucial success factor for overall tyre performance.

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