Catalyst Development for Propylene Glycol Production from Glycerin

August 14, 2008

Mitsui Chemicals, Inc.

Mitsui Chemicals, Inc. (“MCI”) today announced the development of a high-performance catalyst for manufacturing propylene glycol from glycerin, made possible by expanding catalysis technologies that the company has acquired through its R&D activities. This new catalyst exhibits high activity and high selectivity, which enables the production of propylene glycol with a high yield of 95% or more.

In 2007, global demand for propylene glycol, which is mainly applied to unsaturated polyester, antifreeze liquid and additives for liquid detergent, stood at 1,500,000 tons. Glycerin, which is a by-product generated during the process of manufacturing biodiesel fuel, has been gathering public attention these days as a renewable resource. Output of biodiesel fuel has been steadily expanding so far, and its production is also forecasted to strongly grow in the future. In line with production growth for biodiesel fuel, the volume of glycerin as a by-product is projected to increase going forward. Against this backdrop, technology for manufacturing propylene glycol from glycerin is being intensively studied worldwide toward its eventual realization.

This technology has now entered the catalyst life test and manufacturing process development phases. Looking ahead, MCI will further accelerate the development of the technology toward attaining its commercial viability.

Catalyst Devel Development for Propylene Glycol Production from Glycerin


Mitsui Chemicals, Inc.

Makoto Yamasaki
General Manager,
CSR & Corporate Communications Div.
Phone no.: [+81] (3)6253-2100
Fax no.: [+81] (3)6253-4245

Mitsui Chemicals Asia Pacific, Ltd.

Legal & General Affairs Div.
Phone no. [+65] 6534-2611
Fax no. [+65] 6535-5161

About Mitsui Chemicals

Mitsui Chemicals aspires to be a “Chemistry, Innovation, Dreams” driven Mitsui Chemicals which is constantly pursuing innovation and materializing dreams with the wonder of chemistry, and making an all-out and company wide effort to achieve this end. With aggressive business deployment in the Performance Materials, Advanced Chemicals and Basic Chemicals business fields, Mitsui Chemicals’ main products have successfully shown the presence in their targeting markets (Japan, Asia, World). Mitsui Chemicals has approximately 13,000 employees around the world, and posted sales of 1,786.7 billion yen in fiscal 2007.
Mitsui Chemicals shares are traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in Japan.
Further information on Mitsui Chemicals is available on the Internet at


Catalyst Development for Propylene Glycol Production from Glycerin(PDF:138KB)PDF