TOKYO November 1, 2005_ Ube Industries, Ltd. today announced its decision to increase production of dimethyl carbonate (DMC) at the Ube Chemical Factory. With completion slated for June 2006, the company will boost its annual capacity from 10,000 to 15,000 tons.
The company will also build facilities for producing for the first time 10,000 tons of dimethyl oxalate (DMO), which can be manufactured at the same time as DMC by means of the same process.
Using Ube Industries' proprietary "nitrite technology," the company produces both products through a clean process that employs readily available carbon monoxide (CO) and methanol as its raw materials.
This is also making possible the manufacturing conversion of oxalic acid that is currently being produced in the course of manufacturing dibutyl oxalate (DBO) by a high-pressure liquid nitrite method. In short, the company produces the oxalic acid by manufacturing DBO, an intermediate material, through the transesterification of DMO (a new manufacturing method), which uses a low-pressure liquid nitrite method.
The manufacturing conversion of these materials makes it possible to dramatically cut down on waste water and waste fluids, and thereby lessen the environmental impact. In addition, DBO manufactured by this new method has fewer impurities than current methods, and Ube Industries has verified that it delivers the same quality as the conventional product or even better.
DMC demand is continually expanding in Japan and the rest of Asia for electrolytes used in lithium ion secondary batteries, electronic materials, including a developer for semiconductors and LCDs, solvents that offer high safety, and as a raw material for fine chemicals resins.
Chinese manufacturers that use a process unlike Ube Industries' are expanding production, but Ube Industries' DMC is building a stronghold in the field of electronic materials in particular, based on the strengths of the company's nitrite technology, which employs CO as its raw material.
In addition to the previously mentioned captive consumption of oxalic acid, the company also expects to sell DMO outside the company as a raw material for pharmaceuticals, pesticides, and fertilizers. The company is also looking into the application of DMO derivatives, including raw materials for biodegradable specialty plastics.
UCHE, the company's European manufacturing base located in the Spanish city of Castellon in Valencia, is planning to bring online a polycarbonate diol (PDC) plant for high-grade urethane that uses DMC as its raw material. Considering a future expansion into DMC and DMC derivatives, the company is assessing the viability of locating production overseas.
Against a backdrop of increasing production at the Ube Chemical Factory and future expansion overseas, the company plans to accelerate market development for oxetane and carbonate esters as DMC-derived products.
In addition, Ube Industries has established and is retaining a new process that manufactures DMO as an intermediate material for diphenyl carbonate (DPC), which is a raw material for manufacturing melt polycarbonate (PC) resin. The company intends to promote the introduction of this epoch-making DPC manufacturing method that uses a non-phosgene technique to PC manufacturers as a license-based business. Featuring unique technologies accumulated in the C1 chemical field, Ube Industries will continue to develop strategies that will strengthen its business in the field of green sustainable chemistry.