Toray Industries, Inc., has invested a further USD $8.1 million in Cellulosic Biomass Technology Co., Ltd., to lift its stake in that subsidiary from 67%, to 84.4%. Toray established that entity in Bangkok with Mitsui DM Sugar Co., Ltd., in January 2017 to demonstrate membrane-based saccharification process technologies. Toray looks to employ the additional capital to draw on cellulosic sugar production technology to swiftly commercialize key polymer materials derived from inedible biomass. The company will thereby avoid competition with the food chain and shrink its carbon footprint.
Toray is developing a range of technologies, including to recycle used plastic products, switch to biomass-derived materials, and tap carbon dioxide as a raw material. The company has created an energy-saving production technology that uses membrane separation technology to make cellulosic sugar derived from bagasse, an inedible biomass remaining after extracting juice from sugarcane. It has also innovated a technology to co-produce polyphenol, a high value-added product offering from bagasse.
Toray has confirmed that the cellulosic sugar made using this technology can be used in microbial fermentation for manufacturing chemicals and is stable during storage and transportation. The Toray Group will use sugar that Cellulosic Biomass Technology produces from inedible raw materials for various chemical raw materials groupwide and for development of adipic acid in-house.