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24. November 2021

Kumho Petrochemical: Rice bran extract as silica source for rubber composites

Kumho Petrochemical Co., Ltd. has started the eco-friendly synthetic rubber composite business using biosilica in August 2021. The company has recently strengthened its research on eco-friendly and high-end synthetic rubber composites using biosilica through memoranda of understanding (MOUs) and cooperative projects with manufacturers and partners at home and abroad.

The new silica Kumho Petrochemical will use is made from rice bran (rice husk) extract. Its natural silica content, comprising more than 90 % of the carbonized rice bran in ash, is converted into sodium silicate, which is then processed into biosilica that can be used in petrochemical products. The process of using rice bran is highly energy-efficient and can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by up to 70 % compared to the existing method.

The eco-friendly synthetic rubber composites being developed by Kumho Petrochemical is a high-performance material that maximizes the dispersion properties of biosilica and S-SBR and expected to be supplied to major domestic and foreign tire and shoe manufacturers. In addition, considering the biosilica business’s growth potential, Kumho Petrochemical will increase the production capacity of SSBR, the key material for the concerned business and one of the company’s flagship products, from the current 63,000 t to 123,000 t, doubling by the end of 2022.

Kumho Petrochemical CEO Jong Hoon Baek said, “We will continue to strengthen our performance in ESG management and think deeply about a sustainable business by developing next-generation eco-friendly materials in the future.”


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