Ube Industries, Ltd. (President: Kazumasa Tsunemi), with its synthesized aromatic (formal name: α-methyl-1,3-benzenedioxl-5-propanol, abbreviated "MDP") having a fresh, marine aroma, developed a new process to efficiently synthesize it from existing chemical substances without any use of natural tree components.
The Company has applied for a trademark under the name "Heliofresh" and has already begun a survey for commercialization with an eye toward 2005.
For conventional MDP, sassafras woods were cut and the roots steam distilled. Heliotropin, a base aromatic from the extracted sassafras oil, was synthesized and then derived into MDP and produced (refer to the Attachment). In recent years, however, balmy marine aromas have become trendy and demand for MDP has risen, so deforestation has worsened due to indiscriminate cutting of the same woods. For a stable supply of MDP as well, establishment of a new process of synthesis that is not via the plant route has been awaited.
At the Company, product groups related to diphenol are positioned as the core products for the fine chemicals field, and vast expansion is planned into large aromatics such as vanillin/ethyl-vanillin, which are diphenol derivatives, and pharmaceutical ingredients, intermediates, and the like that are synthesized with them as a base.
The Company had already succeeded last year in combining long years of synthesis technology and being the world's first in the synthesis of heliotropin from methylenedioxybenzene, which is a diphenol derivative, although at this time technology to synthesize MDP directly from methylenedioxybenzene without taking place via heliotropin has been established."Heliofresh" via the same technology (refer to the Attachment) does not require plant components and is a breakthrough to effectively synthesize the aromatic in short processes completely from existing chemical substances, so it will contribute to both preservation of the global environment and cost reduction.
As a result of successful development for the same process of manufacture, the Company has positioned a series of methylenedioxybenzene-related aromatics such as heliotropin and "Heliofresh" as strategic products for diphenol derivatives and is engaged in a market survey with the goal of full-blown production in 2005.
At the current time, the Company estimates a production scale of 1000 t/yr in methylenedioxybenzene conversion and a market scale of about 2 billion yen.
The Company plans to participate in the exhibition and introduce the product at ChemSpec Europe held in Manchester, England starting on June 4th.