Japanese chemical company Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation (MCC) and its subsidiary Mitsubishi Chemical Methacrylates (MCM) have announced they are designing a pilot plant to produce methyl methacrylate (MMA) monomers from plant-derived materials.

The pilot plant is due to become operational this year, according to MCC’s 16 February statement, with the aim of the technology being applied to commercial-scale plants in 2026.

MMA is a raw material for acrylic resin used in automobile lamp covers, signboards, aquarium tanks, paints, building materials and other products.

Global demand for MMA has exceeded 3.6M tonnes and is expected to continue growing at the same level as GDP in every country, according to MCC.

Alongside the pilot project, the group was also developing catalysts and processes to improve productivity in its existing MMA monomer manufacturing technologies, MMC said.

Tokyo-based Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corporation was formed in October 2005 from the merger of Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation and Mitsubishi Pharma Corporation.