We have identified “Contribute to carbon neutrality / circular society” and “Contribute to regional society (energy and mobility)” as our materiality (key challenges). We have crafted strategies that consolidate company-wide technologies and actively draw on external technologies with the aim of quickly achieving the creation of new businesses with an eye toward changes in society, diversifying customer needs, and decreasing environmental burden. Technological innovation is indispensable to achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement, which is an international framework related to climate change. Our Group will continue generating innovation that will help solve various social issues including climate change, by utilizing the technological capabilities that have been developed over many years of our operations.
Our R&D system is composed of Advanced Technology Research Laboratories, which are responsible for corporate R&D, and research laboratories in each department. Each of them carries out specialized development. In addition, we established the Research & Development Committee as a company-wide organization to not only examine the direction of research and development, strategies, and issues throughout the organization, but also to deepen cooperation among laboratories and to strengthen technological capabilities.
|Name of laboratory
|Outline of initiatives
|Environment & Energy Research Laboratory
|Development of technologies to reduce GHGs and recycle resources (biofuels, bio-chemicals, and CO2 recycling) and bio-materials
|Advanced Organic Materials Research Laboratory
|Development of functional materials (organic macromolecule materials)
|Advanced Inorganic Materials Research Laboratory
|Development of functional materials (inorganic materials)
|Analytical Technology Center
|Providing advanced analysis and solutions to a wide range of fields throughout the Group (including computational science)
|Idemitsu Kosan Joint Research Center for Creation of Next-Generation Materials
|Creating next-generation materials, enhancement and expansion of technologies
|Technology & Engineering Center
|Technology development in the area of engineering design,
construction, operation, quality control & assurance, and asset integrity & reliability of production facilities
Technology-driven contributions to new businesses through the development of production processes
|Lubricants Research Laboratory
|Research and development of lubricants and tribology (lubrication technology)
|Idemitsu Lubricants America Corporation R&D Center
| Local-based research and development of lubricants
Global development of lubricants products and technologies with the Lubricants Research Laboratory (Japan) as the mother research center
Rapid product development and provision of technical services to meet local needs overseas
|Idemitsu Lube (China) Co., Ltd. Research & Development Center
|Idemitsu Lube Asia Pacific Pte. Ltd. R&D Center
|NIPPON GREASE Co., Ltd. Technical Research Laboratory
|Research and development of grease, heat treatment oil, metal processing oil, etc.
|Performance Materials Laboratories
|R&D and development of applications for engineering plastics, adhesive base materials, liquid rubber, electronic materials, etc.
Provision of solutions based on catalyst, synthesis, material design, compounds, and practical assessment technologies
|Idemitsu Unitech Co., Ltd. R&D Center for Plastic Products
|Research and development of molded plastic products
|IDEMITSU FINE COMPOSITES CO., LTD.
Composite Materials Research Laboratory
Research and development of plastic composite materials that meet market requirements
|Electronic Materials Development Center
|Research and development of OLED materials
|Idemitsu Research and Business Development Europe AG
|Basic and applied research on asphalt and its applications
Development of high-performance asphalt
|Pesticides and functional feed
|SDS Biotech K.K. Tsukuba Research & Technology Center
Development of pesticides and feed additives derived from microorganisms and natural products
Development of safe and useful products for the protection of plants and livestock and the prevention of diseases
|Battery Material Development Center
|Development of sulfide-based solid-state electrolyte materials, which are key to all-solid lithium-ion secondary batteries (all-solid lithium batteries), and development of manufacturing processes and mass production technology development
|Technology & Engineering Development Center
|Development of manufacturing technology and design/ construction of mass production facilities for the commercialization of the aforementioned solid-state electrolyte materials
|Technology Planning Office
|Examining and exploring recycling technologies and next-generation battery materials
|Solar power generation
|Solar Frontier K.K. Kunitomi Office
|Exploring solutions for new business development
Research and development for the commercialization of recycling technologies for solar panels, including crystal silicon panels
|Coal and the
|Coal & Environment Research Laboratory
|The only private research specializing in coal
Provision of technical services and development of clean use technologies for coal for a low-carbon society, such as biomass fuels that help reduce GHG emissions as well as carbon recycling and highly efficient combustion technologies
We conduct R&D related to petroleum, functional materials, and resources as well as new business creation. Under our R&D system, our departments pursue R&D activities in close mutual cooperation.
|R&D expenses by
|Power and Renewable Energy
Our technologies are highly appreciated by the international community. As an example, for six consecutive years since 2017 Idemitsu has been ranked 1st in the world in their industry subgroup* for “Opportunities in Clean Tech,” which is one of the items evaluated by MSCI, an ESG evaluation organization. (See the table below.)
We will continue to make the most of our advanced R&D capabilities to contribute to the solution of global issues through collaboration with others.
To strengthen the development and expanding business in the advanced materials field and create CNX Centers at complexes, we are promoting open innovation that has actively utilized external collaborations.
To accelerate activities related to MI (Materials Informatics*), which had been conducted individually by each laboratory, the Innovation Strategy Department is playing a central role in promoting activities to vitalize and raise the level of MI / DX through the activities across the entire Company.
To strengthen development and expand business in the advanced materials area, it is important to continuously create new themes in addition to the early commercialization of themes under consideration. That is why we launched the ‘Advanced Materials Project’ as a project activity for theme exploration. We integrated the wisdom of each division of the Advanced Materials Company to create new businesses in the advanced materials field by repeating idea creation, commercialization planning, and verification in a short period of time through thinking that is not confined by existing business domains. Then, through this project, we seek to expand the circle of innovation to the entire Advanced Materials Company by nurturing co-creation innovative human resources.
In 2006, we began developing polycrystalline oxide*1 semiconductor material IGO (Indium Gallium Oxide). The IGO that we have developed features high mobility on the same level as that of low-temperature polysilicon (LTPS)*2, which could not be achieved with conventional oxide semiconductors. This process is also well-suited for large lines of the eighth generation and later, and it is expected to contribute to the evolution of display performance, the development of the display industry, and the realization of a low-carbon society through the low power consumption of displays.
Lipids and fats are widely used as raw materials for bio diesel oil, and in recent years they have also shown promise as raw materials for bio-jet fuels and bio plastics. Conversely, competition with uses for food and the destruction of tropical rainforests due to palm plantations are considered to be problematic. The utilization of waste cooking oil, which is considered to have a low environmental impact, is gaining momentum, but there are challenges to its availability.
Hence, we are developing a process to produce lipids and fats from the raw material of lignocellulose*4, the most abundant biomass on earth, using the power of microorganisms. We have discovered several unique microbial strains that produce lipids from sugars with high efficiency, and we are developing technologies to further increase production efficiency. We are aiming to provide fuel and chemical raw materials with less environmental impact through the practical application of microbial lipids production.
Under the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) programs “Technological Development for Promoting Solar Power Generation and Making It a Major Power Source” and “Technological Development for Creating New Markets for Solar Power Generation,” we are promoting the development of new technologies to expand the places where solar panels can be installed. In particular, in the development of new technologies to install solar cells in regular electric vehicles, Idemitsu is working with multiple other organizations to develop solar cell modules for installation in vehicles to increase efficiency and reduce costs. Among the solar cell modules being developed, Idemitsu is focusing on CIS bottom cell technologies.
In addition, these projects’ respective themes will be pursued via the application of CIS solar cells (solar cells made using a compound of copper, indium and selenium) from Solar Frontier K.K., an affiliate company of Idemitsu.
On April 1, 2020, our company and the Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) co-founded Idemitsu Kosan Collaborative Research Cluster for Advanced Materials on the premises of Tokyo Tech’s Suzukakedai campus. Since the beginning of the 2000s, our company and Tokyo Tech have been engaged in joint research in polymer materials and other fields encompassing a range of technologies and have achieved outstanding results, including the development of new fiber and film materials. The newly established research base is expected to promote large-scale and comprehensive R&D that involves ongoing interorganizational collaboration and transcends the traditional framework of joint research for individual projects. In this way, we will help develop next-generation materials while nurturing human resources.
While our company boasts strengths in functional materials (lubricants, advanced materials & performance chemicals, electronic materials, and others) and a track record in marketing them in wide-ranging fields, Tokyo Tech possesses a breadth of sophisticated academic expertise with regard to substances and materials and is equipped with leading-edge scientific and engineering technologies. Bringing together these resources, our company and Tokyo Tech will take on the ongoing challenge of creating new value.