Joint Venture Established to to Promote DME as The New Generation Clean Fuel

In order to promote Di-Methyl Ether (DME) expected as the new generation clean fuel, the following nine companies, Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Company, Inc. (Headquarters: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, President: Hideki Odaka), ITOCHU Corporation (Headquarters: Minato-ku, Tokyo, President and CEO: Eizo Kobayashi), Japan Petroleum Exploration Co., Ltd. (Headquarters: Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo, President and CEO: Yuji Tanahashi), Taiyo Oil Company, Limited (Headquarters: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, President: Yutaka Oka), TOTAL Di-Methyl Ether Japan Ltd. (Headquarters: Minato-ku, Tokyo, President: Hubert de Mestier), Toyota Tsusho Corporation, (Headquarters: Nagoya-shi, President: Junzo Shimizu), JGC Corporation (Yokohama Headquarters: Yokohama-shi, Chairman and CEO: Yoshihiro Shigehisa), Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (Headquarters: Minato-ku, Tokyo, President: Kazuo Tsukuda) and Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation (Headquarters: Minato-ku, Tokyo, President: Ryuichi Tomizawa) have agreed to establish a Joint Venture Company for DME production, and to construct an 80,000T/A DME production plant within Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Company Niigata Factory (Niigata-shi). The plant operation is scheduled to start from June 2008, and its production capacity is expandable to a 100,000T/A. JGC is in charge of the construction of this new production plant, and Mitsubishi Gas Chemical will be delegated to plant operation of DME production.

Currently, the main use for DME in Japan is aerosol propellant for cosmetics and paints, however, it has already been commercialized in China for LPG substitute because of its similar properties to those of LPG. It is also expected to be the future clean energy for fuel use, since it does not cause soot (Particulate Matters; PM) as diesel substitute, and could easily be produced from natural gas and coal etc. via methanol.

Japanese government has mentioned DME promotion to be an important matter in their ‘Basic Energy Plan’, and has supported technology developments for DME production and application. These nine participants will be developing further promotion in line with this national policy.

These nine participants will make efforts for future commercialization through promotion activities to apply DME produced from this new plant to boilers, power plants (including fuel cells), automobiles, etc.

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