Japan’s major industrial materials producer, Mitsubishi Chemical [4188:JP], aims to realize net-zero emission in the production of methyl methacrylate (MMA) by 2026, a material applied in plastics for vehicle parts and construction materials, as reported by Nikkei Asia on February 23. Mitsubishi Chemical is the world’s largest manufacturer of MMA by a 40% market share. The company plans to switch to partly plant-derived materials in the process of producing MMA to offset carbon emissions. Moreover, on February 22, the company announced investments in Lingrove, a US-based producer of a carbon-neutral composite material. The two companies aim to commercialize the composite material by the end of 2022 and use it in car interiors.
A spokesman of Mitsubishi Chemical said the partly plant-based MMA will be more expensive than the ones produced in conventional methods, but it is motivated by the surging demand for bio-based materials from European customers. Germany’s Volkswagen [VOW:GR] calls for carbon neutrality for certain electric vehicle (EV) parts from its suppliers, while the European Commission has also called on enterprises to report their carbon emissions for the entire process from manufacturing to disposal beginning in July 2024. The wider application of carbon-neutral materials is crucial to decarbonization. According to data from the International Energy Agency (IEA), the steel industry contributes around 30% of industrial CO2 emissions worldwide, while chemicals account for 13%.