Trial production system for 100% plant based biopolymer product now operational New product to be marketed as Kaneka Biopolymer AONILEX®

May 12, 2011
Kaneka Corporation (headquarters: Osaka; President: Kimikazu Sugawara) has set up a trial production system at the Takasago Plant (Takasago, Hyogo Prefecture; Takasago Plant Manager: Akira Iwazawa) for a new plant oil based polyester biopolymer product to be marketed as Kaneka Biopolymer AONILEX®*. The production system is now operational, with full-scale production due to commence by the end of the month. Annual production capacity will be approximately 1,000 tons. Kaneka will use the trial production system to develop innovative production technology and processes for AONILEX products, in combination with new product applications and experimental sales programs. The Company  plans to boost production capacity incrementally over several years in line with feedback from the market, with a view to achieving annual production of 10,000 tons and turnover of 10 billion yen or more.

AONILEX is biodegradable yet strongly resistant to heat and hydrolysis and can act as a barrier to water vapor. It is the first ever 100% plant-based biopolymer to offer both flexibility and heat resistance. It exhibits a range of properties from hardness through to softness as well as a number of key characteristics of polyethylene and polypropylene materials. Kaneka is refining resin mixes and molding processes in a bid to further improve the strength and tear resistance of packaging films, especially agricultural mulch films and mposting bags. The Company intends to aggressively pursue marketing opportunities in high-durability molded products such as bottles and containers, auto interiors and electrical equipment.

Biopolymers are an environmental friendly material that effectively reduces emissions of the greenhouse
gas carbon dioxide. Demand for biopolymer products was approximately 90,000 tons in 2009 and is
estimated to grow at around 20% per annum worldwide. The new 100% plant-based biopolymer in
particular represents a breakthrough product that is expected to generate strong demand. As such,
Kaneka has positioned plant biopolymers as a key strategic development priority for the future.

* Kaneka holds a matter patent for AONILEX. Its raw materials are biomasses such as plant oils, which are renewable resources. Polymers are accumulated in the bodies of microorganisms through strain development and cultivation technology established in joint research with Yoshiharu Doi -Director, RIKEN Research Cluster for Innovation- and AONILEX is produced in a clean process whereby the polymers are refined and extracted. There are also prospects for the establishment of manufacturing technology utilizing biomasses not used for food as the primary ingredients.
AONILEX is stable under every day usage conditions. At the same time, it is biodegradable in either anaerobic or aerobic conditions in the natural environment, ultimately being converted into carbon dioxide and water. Because it is completely bio-based, it produces less carbon dioxide than fossil-based polymers and can contribute to the prevention of global warming.