Cellulose has attracted attention recently because it does not deplete resources (non-fossil fuel) or increase the concentration of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere when used. Therefore, it is expected to be effectively utilized as a potential chemical raw material or energy resource. After many years of research, Kao has developed a technology for producing new chemical raw materials using plant-derived cellulose. That has resulted in production of the chemical raw materials "AC-HEC" and "C-HPC" for related purposes, which have added value to products because of their practicality and high functionality. Currently, these are two important raw materials included among Kao's recent products.
AC-HEC is utilized as a raw material for laundry detergent, and the very small amount needed makes it easier to penetrate water into fibers, which improves the ability to remove stains on clothes. Previously, only surfactants were added to detergent to help making clothing 'clean'. However, with the development of AC-HEC, detergents are now able to not only 'clean' but an 'easy to shed' functionality has been added. This is a unique material that has solved difficult laundry problems faced by Kao for over 100 years.
C-HPC is used as a raw material for making shampoo, as it provides stabilization of foam, resulting in an increased amount. It evenly distributes oil such as silicone to make hair easier to manage and absorbs sebum to make hair less sticky.
In addition, Kao is working to reduce energy consumption as well as CO2 emissions during the manufacturing process, and also taking measures such as reduction of electricity consumption during manufacturing and elimination of waste of raw materials. In particular, in order to reduce solvents and reactants produced when converting cellulose to C-HPC, we are actively utilizing dedicated devices to cut pulp sheets containing cellulose as the main component and break hydrogen bonds. By developing production technology with both chemical and engineering perspectives in mind, a significant reduction in environmental burden can be successfully attained.
Kao conducts research on eco-materials that convert cellulose, a renewable resource, into various functional materials by using its own manufacturing technology as "good manufacturing from an environmental, social, and governance (ESG) perspective", and is expanding its applications to a wide range of products.
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