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Oct. 16, 2012
Sumitomo Chemical Co., Ltd.
Sumitomo Corporation
Renaissance Energy Research Corporation

Joint Venture to be formed in CO2 Separation Business

Sumitomo Chemical Co., Ltd. (President: Masakazu Tokura; Head office: Chuo-ku, Tokyo; "Sumitomo Chemical"), Sumitomo Corporation (President and CEO: Kuniharu Nakamura; Head office: Chuo-ku, Tokyo), and Renaissance Energy Research Corporation (President: Osamu Okada; Head office: Kyoto-shi, Kyoto; "Renaissance")  announced their agreement to form a joint venture (the "New Company"), to enter the CO2 separation business using CO2 permselective membrane technology in a membrane separation process.

CO2 separation technology is mainly used in hydrogen production and natural gas refining to remove CO2 from the desired gas. Currently commercialized CO2 separation technologies, such as chemical absorption and physical absorption methods, require a substantial amount of thermal energy and large-scale facilities, making the cost reduction a key challenge. Based on the CO2 permselective membrane developed by Renaissance with the support of the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) and the Kansai Bureau of Economy, Trade and Industry, the three companies have conducted technical investigations and market research on a simpler membrane separation process that significantly reduces energy consumption. As a result, the three companies succeeded in developing a CO2 permselective membrane with world-leading separation performance, verifying the superiority of its performance. Accordingly, the companies have decided to establish the New Company and set out a full-scale operation toward commercializing the technology.

At present, the scale of the worldwide market for the CO2 separation business is estimated to be 3 trillion yen a year (*1), and it is expected to grow even larger with the economic growth of emerging countries and the accelerated development of small and medium-sized gas fields. Another potential application of CO2 separation is in carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, a technology that holds great promise in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The membrane separation process is viewed as an effective way of reducing CO2 separation and capture costs, which account for over half of overall CCS costs, and the companies believe that their newly-developed CO2 permselective membrane can make a significant contribution to commercializing CCS technology.

The New Company will work on developing membrane technologies suitable for a variety of applications while exploring appropriate business models and the establishment of mass production capabilities. New Company plans to conduct demonstration testing with the membrane and seeks to begin full-fledged business operations within twelve months or so from its establishment.

(*1) Estimation based on separation and capture costs (running costs) based on existing commercial technologies.


[Overview of New Company]

-- Business CO2 separation business using CO2 permselective membrane, including development of membranes to exploit a variety of applications
-- Address Tokyo
-- Capital 800 million yen
-- Shareholders Sumitomo Chemical 47.5%; Sumitomo Corporation 47.5%;
-- Renaissance 5%
-- Establishment By the end of this year (expected)

[Overview of Renaissance}

-- Business - Development of CO2 permselective membrane and other gas transmission membranes, and development of their application processes
- Sales and licensing of catalyst/process technologies, mainly in the energy and hydrogen fields
-- Address Kyoto
-- Capital 290.25 million yen
-- Establishment July 2004


Corporate Communications Department,
Sumitomo Corporation

TEL:+81-3-5166-3100News Release Contact Form

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