Tosoh’s Development of CNF-reinforced Chloroprene Rubber for Use in Transmission Belts Adopted by NEDO for Subsidy

Tokyo, Japan—Tosoh has been selected for a subsidy by Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) for the research and development topic, “Development of innovative cellulose nanofiber (CNF) manufacturing process technology” under NEDO’s “Development of technology related to CNF which contributes to the creation of a sustainable carbon cycle society” subsidy program.1, 2 In collaboration with Bando Chemical Industries, Ltd., with which it jointly developed the proposal, Tosoh will initiate research and development under the theme, “Development of cost-reducing technology for manufacturing CNF-reinforced chloroprene rubber (CR) for use in transmission belts.”3

The world is faced with issues such as rising oil prices, depletion risk, and global warming as a result of increased CO2 emissions. While overcoming the potential future supply risk related to oil resources and in order to realize a sustainable, low-carbon society, a transition to non-petroleum-derived resources such as biomass will be necessary. CNF, which is plant fiber, is a biomass-derived high-performance fiber that is one-fifth the weight of steel yet five times as strong. While expectations for its commercialization are rising, further market expansion requires the development of new applications and the reduction of costs.

This project encompasses the development of manufacturing process technology to significantly reduce manufacturing costs, the promotion of application development, and the conducting of a safety evaluation toward the rapid social implementation and market expansion for products using CNF. The ultimate aims of the project are the reduction of CO2 emissions and realizing energy transition and a carbon-neutral society.

NEDO Project Name

Development of technology related to CNF which contributes to the creation of a sustainable carbon cycle society

R&D Topic

Development of innovative CNF manufacturing process technology

Name of Theme Adopted

Development of cost-reducing technology for manufacturing CNF-reinforced chloroprene rubber for use in transmission belts

Companies Scheduled to Implement

Tosoh Corporation and Bando Chemical Industries, Ltd.

Implementation Period

Fiscal year 2020 – fiscal year 2024 (Planned)

For information on NEDO and its activities, please visit

R&D related to CNF-reinforced chloroprene rubber

Tosoh has been manufacturing and selling its Skyprene® brand of CR since 1971. Leveraging its accumulated manufacturing and R&D technologies, it is undertaking the development of products in line with customer needs and the deployment of environmentally friendly products.

Material technology using CNF reinforcement is expected to enhance the basic functionality of applied products such as transmission belts, and mass production is also expected to become possible through cost-reducing manufacturing technology.

The adoption of this project for subsidy by NEDO will accelerate R&D activity as well as social implementation and market expansion for products using CNF, thereby further contributing to society.

1 The New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) was founded in 1980 to promote the development and introduction of new energy technologies to address global energy and environmental issues. Today, it is one of Japan’s largest public R&D management organizations.

2 Cellulose nanofiber (CNF) is a cutting-edge biomass nanofiber material created by defibrating plant-derived cellulose to about 20 nanometers in diameter and several micrometers in length. It is lightweight and high-strength, and is attracting attention in resource-poor Japan and around the world as a new material that makes use of existing resources.

3 Chloroprene rubber (CR) is a synthetic rubber which has a good balance of characteristics. While featuring superior resistance to weather, ozone, oil and chemicals, it also offers excellent mechanical strength and superior flame retardant properties. In addition to automotive parts such as transmission belts, CR is used in a wide range of applications including various industrial rubber products, electric wire and cable, sponges, adhesives, and gloves.




Tosoh Corporation is the parent of the Tosoh Group, which comprises over 100 companies worldwide and a multiethnic workforce of over 12,000 people and generated net sales of ¥786.1 billion (US$7.2 billion at the average rate of ¥108.7 to the US dollar) in fiscal 2020, ended March 31, 2020.


Tosoh is one of the largest chlor-alkali manufacturers in Asia. The company supplies the plastic resins and an array of the basic chemicals that support modern life. Tosoh’s petrochemical operations supply ethylene, polyethylene, and functional polymers, while its advanced materials business serves the global semiconductor, display, and solar industries. Tosoh has also pioneered sophisticated bioscience systems that are used for the monitoring of life-threatening diseases. In addition, Tosoh demonstrates its commitment to a sustainable future in part by manufacturing a variety of eco-products.

Stock Exchange Ticker Symbol: 4042


This document may contain forward-looking statements, including, without limitation, statements concerning product development, objectives, goals, and commercial introductions, which involve certain risks and uncertainties. Forward-looking statements are identified through the use of the word anticipates and other words of similar meaning. Actual results may differ significantly from the results expressed in forward-looking statements.

For more information, please contact


Gina Lau
International Public Relations
Tosoh Corporation

[email protected]
Tel: +81 3 5427 5118
Fax: +81 3 5427 5198