New Acrylic Resin Material for Automotive Bodies under Joint Development with Honda
- Recycling and elimination of painting reduce environmental impact -

October 26, 2023

The Mitsubishi Chemical Group ("the MCG Group") is pleased to announce that it and Honda Motor Co., Ltd. ("Honda") are jointly developing PMMA (polymethyl methacrylate, hereinafter referred to as "acrylic resin") material for automotive body parts. Two concept models, SUSTAINA-C Concept and Pocket Concept, that use this product will be exhibited at the Honda booth in the JAPAN MOBILITY SHOW 2023 which runs from October 28 to November 5, 2023 at Tokyo Big Sight.
Currently, steel is the commonly used material for automobile bodies. We are developing a new acrylic resin material that can be adopted for doors, hoods, fenders, and other automotive body parts. This resin material is made by compounding acrylic resin with rubber particles to improve the impact resistance required for automobile bodies. Acrylic resins are highly transparent and can be toned to a variety of colors, enabling manufacturers to create glossy surfaces simply by adding colorants. It also helps reduce CO2 emissions generated in painting process by eliminating the need for painting.

Furthermore, acrylic resin is suitable for recycling because it can be decomposed into acrylic raw materials at high yields by heating, and with a view to starting operation of a recycling plant in fiscal 2025, the MCG Group aims to commercialize its acrylic resin molecular recycling business. Taillight-to-taillight closed-loop recycling trials conducted in collaboration with Honda and Microwave Chemical Co., Ltd. yielded recycled products with quality levels comparable to conventional products. Compared to conventional products, we expect to reduce GHG emissions over entire product life cycles by about 50%*1 using the verified recycling technologies. In fact, recycled acrylic resin is being used in this new resin material we have recently developed.

 Ahead of commercializing the acrylic resin molecular recycling business, Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation, a member of the MCG Group, has filed international patent applications for several patents relating to recycled raw materials and acrylic resins made from such recycled raw materials. These applications relate to technologies that are required to satisfy levels of quality comparable to conventional products. Several patents have already been granted in Japan and the company is working to acquire rights in various other countries.
 The MCG Group is committed to continue to promote further technological development to provide high value-added products and contribute to the realization of sustainable societies.
*1: Comparison between manufacturing petroleum-derived acrylic resin and incinerating the waste acrylic resin, and recovering waste acrylic resin and manufacturing acrylic resin through molecular recycling.
· Press release dated May 24, 2021 "Construction of Verification Facilities and Implementation of Verification Testing to Commercialize Acrylic Resin Molecular Recycling Operations"

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