Business Update: April 2024 | AIChE

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Business Update: April 2024

Zeon Corporation is recycling cyclic olefin polymers

Zeon Corporation is recycling cyclic olefin polymers

Japanese specialty chemical company, Zeon Corp., completed the construction of their cyclic olefin polymer (COP) recycling plant.

A little background. COPs are a relatively new class of polymers made in one of two ways: either by the ring-opening metathesis polymerization (ROMP) of a cyclic monomer, followed by hydrogenation, or by the copolymerization of that monomer with ethylene. The polymers are known for their transparency and low double refraction, which has made them useful in applications with optical components — think optical films, lenses, touch screens, laser printers, digital cameras, etc.

Zooming in. Zeon started researching COPs in the early 1980s in search of a better channel to market for cyclopentadiene, one of their by-products which was produced in high concentrations at their isoprene purification plant. They found that cyclopentadiene derivatives such as norbornene, phenyl norbornene, and dicyclopentadiene can be polymerized via ROMP, hydrogenated, and sold.

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